SelfScore rebrands as Deserve, raises $12m funding
Consumer analytics company SelfScore has rebranded as Deserve, writes Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).
The California-based company continues to be committed to providing underbanked Americans with access to credit, and to fuel that mission, Deserve has received $12 million in funding. The round was led by Accel, with participation from Aspect Ventures, Pelion Ventures, Mission Holdings, Alumni Venture Group, and GDP Venture, and brings Deserve’s total funding to $27 million.
Deserve offers a credit card designed for Generation Z, whose members currently range in age from six to 21 years. This group accounts for 25% of the US population and is projected to make up 40% of consumers by 2020. Because Generation Z consumers have thin-to-no credit files, they have difficulty accessing credit products at a fair rate. To combat this, Deserve uses an algorithm to predict credit potential by analysing consumer attributes such as education, current financial health, and future employability. Sameer Gandhi of Accel describes this application of machine learning as a “big opportunity to evolve past the antiquated FICO system in a technologically sophisticated way”.
The company’s Deserve Edu card is specifically focused on students, including international students. The card offers benefits such as an 18-month subscription to Amazon Prime Student, 1% cash-back on all purchases, and no fees on foreign transactions. And, for international students, there is no SSN required. To promote and encourage consumers to build their credit score, the company offers incentives for consumers to upgrade to the Deserve Pro Mastercard, which features 3% cashback on travel and entertainment, 2% cash back on restaurants, and 1% unlimited cash-back on all other purchases.
Under the SelfScore brand, the company assessed credit for more than 100,000 international students. Now, under Deserve, the company will target all 20 million college students and another 20 million young adults in the US.
“When I immigrated to America in 1995, one of the hardest parts of settling down in a new country was my lack of financial security and independence,” recalls Kalpesh Kapadia, founder and CEO of Deserve. “A credit card is one of many tools that was not accessible to me. This is why I wanted to implement technology that rethinks the process for offering access to fair and simple credit. Deserve represents that mission.”
Deserve was founded in 2012. Its accounts are issued by Utah-based Celtic Bank.