Aire raises $5m in Series A funding from Sunstone Capital & White Star Capital
● New partners Zopa and Toyota Financial Services (UK) plc announced
● $5m of new funding will drive expansion into new markets outside the UK
● Series A funding milestone comes shortly after FCA approval in 2016, making Aire the first significant entrant in the sector beyond the Big 3 bureaux
London; 21st July 2017 — Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score credit applicants, today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016. Aire was recently also featured as a FinTech50 company in Europe.
In conjunction with closing the latest round of funding, Aire today also announces two new high-profile partnerships across different sub-sectors of consumer credit: Aire is embarking on projects with the pioneering financial services platform Zopa as well as the world-leading car finance business Toyota Financial Services.
Zopa and Toyota Financial Services join other sub-sector partners including credit cards and high-street banks, reaffirming the reputation of versatility associated with Aire’s technology which can be applied at various stages of the credit cycle.
Aire’s products such as the Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI) can be applied and integrated to help lenders and high-street banks better understand a wide range of credit applicants, many of whom have thin-file credit histories such as first-time borrowers and self-employed or freelance workers. In turn, this approach to financial inclusion allows financial institutions to serve more consumers without having to increase their risk thresholds.
The business, whose focus is to make the old-fashioned credit scoring system fit for a new generation of borrowers, has to date successfully scored over $5 billion of credit across various categories of consumer credit. Aire’s expansion has resulted in a necessary recruitment drive and has allowed Aire to continuously enhance the accuracy of its algorithmic underwriting, and emulate the capabilities of human underwriters through machine learning.
This proven track record in establishing meaningful credit scores for various segments in the market, paired with gaining full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval in September 2016 were key factors that contributed to gaining the confidence of investors.
Yacine Ghalim, Principal at Sunstone Capital commented:
“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.
“Aire is also a good illustration of our growing interest in companies operating in regulated spaces. We have increasingly been willing to take this type of risk in finance or healthcare, where we see regulation as a great competitive moat.
“We participated in Aire’s seed round and have since then been repeatedly impressed by the team’s ability to not only build cutting edge technology, but also successfully engage with regulators as well as leading customers. We believe that they have a real shot at transforming their industry and are delighted to lead their Series A”
Christian Hernandez, Managing Partner at White Star Capital continued:
“From Seed to Series A we have closely followed the progress of Aire as we have seen the business develop its proprietary algorithms and enhance the products it brings to market, while building an enviable team of talent from underwriting and software backgrounds.
“The forward-looking and long-term plans from this business present a confidence in the business model which is reflected in the numerous new partnerships from banks to alternative lenders who are embracing the opportunities that the Aire products can realise for them.
“We look forward to continuing our close support for Aire in what promises to be a bright future for the business.”
Aire’s founder and CEO Aneesh Varma concluded:
“Aire has stood for an idea that people should have equal opportunities for financial products despite changing realities of work, lifestyle and careers in this modern economy. This new funding round is strong vindication that we are making the right progress towards that goal.
“The last year has been exceptionally positive with the FCA authorisation, new partnerships, increasing data volumes and now the funding to go into new markets. We are keen to bring Aire to as many people as we can, so there is still a busy time ahead of us on this mission.”
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Aire’s technology provides lenders with enhanced credit insights to identify the risks and potential of new and existing customers: its Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI) analyses the full picture with a special focus on affordability and character traits, adding deep dimensionality to traditional bureaux data.
Helping lenders access a wider group of customers without increasing their risk appetite — Aire has seen credit approvals grow by up to 14% on average in a near prime segment of population. Its technology draws on decades of experience in risk management to produce precise credit insights.
Working only with large scale, reputable lenders and high street banks, Aire has scored over $5bn value at risk across a range of financial products and respective credit cycles. Aire is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA FRN: 744817).