ZestFinance Closes $20 Million Round of Funding

Zest AI team

July 31, 2013

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—July 31, 2013— ZestFinance, Inc., a technology startup that is transforming credit underwriting with big data analysis, today announced it has closed a $20 million round of Series C financing. The round will fund ZestFinance’s continued growth in credit underwriting and financial services predictive modeling. Peter Thiel, Northgate Capital, Matrix Partners, Kensington Capital Holdings, Eastward Capital Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners participated in the round.

ZestFinance’s underwriting approach leverages today’s data-rich environment by combining machine learning and large-scale big data analysis. While traditional lenders determine credit-worthiness based on 10-15 pieces of data, ZestFinance uses tens of thousands of data points and machine-based algorithms to better assess credit risk.

“Getting credit into the hands of more people is one of the financial service industry’s biggest hurdles. We’ve found that big data done right—machine learning, combined with human inference—can solve this problem,” says Douglas Merrill, founder and CEO of ZestFinance. “We’ve made incredible strides in the past three years to expand credit options for more Americans. This round of funding will drive our mission even further.” In the last two years, ZestFinance has tripled its team and continued to innovate its underwriting models. The result is more accurate loan decisions, default rates that are 60 percent lower than the best-in-class industry score and increased credit availability for Americans who need it most: the underbanked.

The company has also earned a number of accolades recently, including: Red Herring’s North America Top 100, Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Big Data and Los Angeles Business Journal’s Best Places to Work awards.

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