There are 510m people across European Union and they do not have a common credit score in order to interact with financial institutions, either within borders or abroad; a problem solved long ago in the US. Young people, self-employed or expats face challenges getting credit facilities. Financial institutions rely on snapshots to make decisions and lack a comprehensive and intelligent tool in order to assess credit risk. This has left more that 58m Europeans without access to any credit facility whatsoever.
This problem has been persistent in Europe due to the fact that the 28 member states were not uniform in terms of laws and regulations and this made impossible to launch a common credit score. A number of regulatory changes took place since the beginning of 2018, primarily driven by the revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2), and provided unconditional access to uniform transactional data across all banks in Europe to third party providers. This was a landmark decision from the European regulators which, for the first time, facilitate third parties to offer financial services on top of banking infrastructure by giving access to baking data in uniform format throughout the EU. These laws regarding open banking APIs have been incorporated by all member-states regulatory frameworks and are fully compliant with the relevant privacy frameworks like GDPR etc.
Verge.Capital is going to become a pan-European credit scoring provider that enables consumers and financial institutions to universally assess affordability and creditworthiness of individuals by utilizing machine learning on top of open banking APIs.
Yiannis and Ioanna decided to work on this project driven by personal stories. Yiannis was actually challenged when he first moved to the US and he could not get a credit card. He was a stranger to the financial system and this made him look for ways to solve this issue. On the other hand Ioanna had been working for banks and management consulting firms that assist banks in managing risk and she was baffled that no one up to that point had ever made any steps towards streamlining consumer credit risk within European Union. Thus, when Yiannis shared with her the idea, she was like “it was about time”.
By being members of the Stern family and during our successful participation at NYU $300K Enterpreneurs Challenge, we were excited to learn about Stern Venture Fellows (SVF), a customized summer program for high potential entrepreneurs. We were even more excited to get accepted to the SVF program! It is amazing to have access to NYU Stern's and W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs’ resources, as well as access to our super successful alumnus David Ko and his network!
During our fellowship we hope to accomplish two main goals. First of all start building our brand and positioning in the minds of Europeans, as a financial wellbeing platform and in the eyes of Financial Institutions as a creditworthiness assessment supporting tool based on transactional behavior. Secondly, we want to develop automations in order to utilize our vast network of contacts and to drive awareness and new business via social media channels.
Thumbs up for fintech disrupting banking! Thumbs up for Stern that enables us to do so!