Alternative credit bureau raises $5m, announces P2P partnership

By Ryan Weeks on Friday 21 July 2017

Alternative LendingDigital Banking

Aire raises $5m in Series A with Sunstone Capital taking the lead, while also announcing partnerships with Zopa and Toyota.

Aire raises $5m in Series A round with Sunstone Capital taking the lead, while also announcing partnerships with Zopa and Toyota.

Self-described next generation credit scorer Aire has raised $5m in a Series A funding round. Sunstone Capital led the round, with existing investor White Star also taking part.

In tandem to the fundraise, Aire has also announced partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services. The former of these is the world’s original peer-to-peer lender, and has a 12 year track-record in consumer lending.

Aire recently gained FCA approval, and claims to be the first significant entrant in the sector outside of the “Big 3” bureaux. Its machine learning-powered products are designed to help lenders cater to a broader range of customers, such as thin-file borrowers (who are typically younger) and self-employed or freelance workers. The company claims that it can empower banks and other lenders to serve more consumers without having to broaden their risk parameters.

One of the tools offered by Aire is an “Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI)”, which is designed to enrich standard credit reports with added emphasis on affordability and character traits. Financial inclusion is the name of the game.

Having scored over $5bn across various segments of consumer credit, Aire says that it has seen credit approvals grow by up to 14 per cent on average in near prime segments of the population, which will doubtless be music to both Zopa and Toyota’s ears.

“Aire is a perfect example of the type of AI-enabled companies we have been looking for: vertically focused, having direct access to a proprietary dataset, addressing a high-value industry problem by using machine intelligence to extend the shortfalls of human experts,” said Yacine Ghalim, principal at Sunstone Capital.

He added that Sunstone has increasingly been looking at firms operating in regulated spaces within finance or healthcare, and sees regulation as “a great competitive moat”. 

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