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SelfScore Raises an Additional $7 Million in Funding to Leverage Data Analytics and Machine Learning to Unlock Financial Services for International Students

The company will use new funding to scale its credit card offerings and accelerate new product development for international students


WEBWIRE

Palo Alto, Calif. – August 24, 2016 – SelfScore, a fintech company using data analytics and machine learning to measure credit potential, today announced it has closed $7 million in additional Series A funding led by Pelion Venture Partners, with participation from Accel and Aspect Ventures, both of which led the prior round. Blake Modersitzki, managing partner at Pelion Venture Partners will also join its Board of Directors. This new round brings SelfScore’s total funding to over $15 million. The company will use the funds to grow its credit card portfolio, accelerate new product development, grow its nationwide presence across college campuses, and continue to expand its internal team.

Nearly 1.1 million foreign students are enrolled at colleges and universities across the United States – a figure that has jumped 40 percent in the past decade, yet they lack access to basic needs that in-state students sometimes take for granted. SelfScore CEO and co-founder, Kalpesh Kapadia came to the US over 20 years ago as a young student at Carnegie Mellon, and struggled to establish his credit profile. Through SelfScore, he plans to ease the financial challenges for the underserved but deserving international population in the United States.

“We’re thrilled by the demand we’re seeing from both international students, but also from institutions like University of California Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, and more that have expressed interest in partnering with us to make this a reality for deserving students who don’t have access to traditional credit,” said Kalpesh Kapadia, CEO and co-founder of SelfScore. “Some of the most successful companies in this country were started and are run by international students, and our goal is to use this new round of funding to further educate current and future international students about why they should care about credit, and empower them to build it. Serving international students is a natural starting point for an analytics-based lender since foreign students are pre-screened by the universities and US government for identity (anti-fraud) and ability to fund their studies, however most credit card applications require a social security number and a credit score to get started.“

“It’s a matter of fairness,” said Michael Hallinan, CPO and co-founder at SelfScore. “National credit bureaus and scores like FICO are leaving people out of the credit system. We owe it to society to develop open-access to quality consumer data and to develop better measures of creditworthiness.”

SelfScore launched the first dedicated Mastercard credit card designed for international students in the United States in March this year. By utilizing unique analytics and machine-learning, SelfScore analyzes a borrower’s education, source of funding, and career prospects, to identify creditworthy international students who are otherwise labeled as ”thin-file“ or ”no-file" using traditional credit bureau checks. This breakthrough approach to understanding credit opens up the potential of financial services to those previously locked out of the traditional financial services industry. SelfScore’s credit card is the first in a series of financial products and services, and the company will use this new round of funding to further develop its pipeline of financial products and partnerships, providing students with all the financial resources they need to improve their quality of life and meet their professional goals.

Since launching their credit card in March, SelfScore:

  • Has seen a 3x growth in credit card sign ups month over month

  • Doubled number of employees, including the addition of Venkat Bala as Chief Marketing Officer, who previously served as the Vice President, Head of Early Stage Consumer Cards at Wells Fargo  

“Since launching their flagship product in March, SelfScore has shown great growth with very little capital deployed,” said Blake Modersitzki, managing partner at Pelion Venture Partners. “SelfScore’s unique data analytics and machine learning approach is a game-changer for unleashing financial freedom with today’s generation of international students, a group, who has contributed as much to America’s innovation as anyone over the past half-century.”

New board member, Modersitzki has served as a Managing Partner with Pelion Venture Partners for over 14 years. His current and past investments include Riverbed, Fusion-io, Primary data, Soasta, metacloud, redhat, NETObjects, Caldera Systems, bigpanda, and more.

“With such rich data at our fingertips, we would be remiss to ignore the analytics available to us today as an alternative credit source to the traditional FICO scoring system. SelfScore’s core mission to level the credit field for international students in the US is not only ingenious, it’s intuitive,” said Theresia Gouw, managing partner at Aspect Ventures. “Since initially investing in SelfScore, we’ve seen the startup impact a hugely underserved market.”  

For more information about SelfScore or to sign-up for a credit card, please visit www.selfscore.com.

About SelfScore

SelfScore opens the U.S. financial system to deserving but underserved populations using alternative metrics and data. In 2016, we’re connecting international students with fair credit before expanding into other products and populations. SelfScore is a venture-backed financial startup whose investors include Pelion Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Fenway Summer Ventures. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to our newsletter, The Score, and check out the latest news on our frequently updated blog. Accounts issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah Chartered Industrial Bank, Member FDIC.

About Pelion Venture Partners

Pelion is an early stage technology venture capital firm with a national track record of investing in software-based businesses that manage the exponential growth in the movement of information, or “bits,” across wired and wireless networks. Founded in 1986, Pelion has been a partner to leading technology innovators CloudFlare, Fusion-io, MX Logic, RedHat, and Riverbed. More at www.pelionvp.com.      

About Aspect Ventures

Aspect Ventures works with entrepreneurs in the emerging mobile marketplace, making Seed and Series A investments in Mobile, Consumer Internet, Enterprise, SaaS and Healthcare IT.  We approach the growth and building of companies from every aspect. With a long industry perspective across over 80 Seed and Series A investments, we work alongside great entrepreneurs – as active advisors, board members and partners – through every point on their success curve.  For more information, please visit www.aspectventures.com. Follow Aspect Ventures @AspectVC.

About Accel

Accel is a leading early and growth-stage venture capital firm, powering a global community of entrepreneurs. Accel backs entrepreneurs who have what it takes to build a world-class, category-defining business. Founded in 1983, Accel brings more than three decades of experience building and supporting hundreds of companies. Accel’s vision for entrepreneurship and business enables it to identify and invest in the companies that will be responsible for the growth of next-generation industries. Accel-backed companies include Atlassian, Cloudera, DJI, Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Jet.com, Qualtrics, Slack, Spotify, Supercell, Vox Media and others. Visit www.accel.com for more or @Accel on Twitter.



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