“Lenddo is the world’s first online service empowering emerging class to build their creditworthiness and access local financial services based on their online social media connection”. In other words, Lenddo is a Hong Kong based start-up company, founded in 2011 to attempt to create credit scores based on Social Media with its corresponding character-based-user identification system.
Lenddo is now recognized as the world’s leader in online verification and social online credit scoring. The new and special featured technology which Lenddo uses is based on its own algorithm of social authentication and scoring technology. It works differently than traditional bank credit scoring as it’s based on social indicators to guarantee certain credit level. They use proprietary software for scoring and verification systems to provide economic opportunities for the unbanked and lower emerging classes around the world.
Founded in the year 2011, Lenddo’s mission was to reinvent consumer finances and provide life-changing services by giving businesses the ability to create positive social influence in their environments. Its vision is “to help create an economically empowered and thriving middle class in developing countries around the world.”
The milestones of its further development have been:
In year 2012 after its funding round, it expanded to the Americas, first in Colombia and then Mexico in 2013. In this same year, following its a second and large round of funding, it began expansion into SouthEast Asia.
At this point Lenddo was present in just three emerging economies; It statred operations in the Phillippines during year 2011, then Colombia in the following year of 2012 and finally Mexico in 2013.
They have received a myrad of awards for their outstanding work to help the emerging economies that they serve. In 2014 they were recognized as the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers. In 2012 at Sibos, Lenddo was recognized as one of the top 15 global most innovative financial services companies. And in 2011 Lenddo was FinTech Startup Award winner.
Recently they have stopped being completely focused on lending, last year in 2015, Lenddo has, to a large extend, stopped the lending function, and it is now dedicated to marketing its intellectual property and ability to gather data for businesses who want to determine their customer´s trustworthiness.
Today, in 2016, Lenddo is active in USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Jordan, Mongolia, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and India. They are servicing the main emerging markets in the world.
Today´s Lenddo motto is: “Lenddo: Leveraging technology solutions in Credit and Verification”
Back in 2011 it was founded by co-founders Jeffrey Stewart and Richard Eldridge.
Stewart is the current Lenddo´s CEO and he´s a rampant entrepreneur: founder and former CEO of Mimeo, founder of Urgent Career, and of Ace Metrix where he acts as operations SVP. Jeff
Stewart is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and investor specialized in internet-enabled growth businesses.
Richard Eldridge is the current Lenddo COO, and, as he describes himself he´s, “A fast-track, highly motivated, team and results oriented business entrepreneur and business executive”. With 15 years of experience successfully founding and developing startups in the technology and outsourcing sectors.
Financing and Investment
During May 2012, a year after its starting, Lenddo received its first Series A round of funding in venture capital from investors: Blumberg Capital, Omidyar Network, Accel Partners and Inovia Capital.
Later on the following year in 2013, with the plan of expanding its services over Southeast Asia, Lenddo got an additional $6 million financing from investors: Kickstart Ventures, Toivo Annus, Skype´s founder, and Golden Gate Ventures.
Today, Lenddo is mostly owned by Philippines’ BanKO, through its renown investment and accelerator Kickstart Ventures, all partly owned by Philippines’´ Ayala Group.
What they do
It has been said that “Lenddo is like Klout but for your credit rating”. Klout is a private company which developed an app and website created in 2008 dedicated to rank social media users in a 1 to 100 Klout Index through its own analytics algorithm to classify people´s impact. In a sense, Lenddo is using social media big data algorithm analysis to classify their users’ and clients’ levels of credit- worthiness based on personal and relevant information for an ever increasing and tech-based online marketplace.
As said before, Lenddo is a startup company that permits the unbanked middle and low class to build their creditworthiness and access local financial services through the use of their online social acquaintances. Lenddo uses their own original computer algorithms, to assess each user’s credit score.
The idea was initially promoted as an easier and faster option for loan granting, making credit available to emerging middle class people who were usually denied credit by banking systems because they lacked a banking credit record or simple banking history.
What makes Lenddo so innovative and attractive is that it directly tackles a global and significant global challenge for the middle class; it tries to solve the difficulty for first time borrowers who don’t have a credit score and are struggling to get a bank loan, particularly in the even more difficult less developed or developing countries.
According to Golden Gate Ventures partner Vinnie Lauria, “there are nearly 610 million individuals in Southeast Asia” still unbanked and unable to classify for an ordinary banking system loan. Lenddo allows borrowers to get their first credit even if the borrower doesn’t have a banking credit history, by using their social media information to assess the risks of the borrower. This system and algorithm has also improved loans for many by moving the lending system online and making it much more readily available and dynamic.
How it works?
Lenddo’s initial algorithm was able to gather social media data on individuals such as who their friends are, how often they interact, their interests, and, based on these details, generate a credit worthiness or trust rating score which would indicate the chance of payback or of default on their loans.
The algorithm has evolved over time; it now scans data from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, and Yahoo accounts. Mainly its data retrieval is focused on these chief aspects—social network activity, the user’s trusted connections, (meaning character references that will vouch for the borrower) and former online financial performance (if the person was already a successful borrower or not.) To request a loan you must first accumulate a minimum of 300 “LenddoScore”, units which are measured Lenddo credit rating achieved as explained above.
At this point, there are many companies which use social media credit ratings like Lenddo. The most relevant are LendUp, Moven, Neo, Kabbage, and Kreditech.
Nonetheless from all of these companies, only Lenddo has been said to be less discriminating while some of the others, according to Mother Jones article published in September 2013, claim to “be discriminating against applicants who essentially appear socially undesirable.” Or, as the article title suggests, Your Deadbeat Facebook Friends Could Cost You a Loan.” This entire situation may appear to be potentially judgmental and discriminatory.
David Jacobs, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says he is “worried about the possibility of digital redlining” in this process of assessment. Meaning, he’s concerned about the danger of using personal social media data to prejudge and classify consumers as not worth engaging with or of value. In any case, online credits ratings seem to have lowered the bar for obtaining a first loan. The CEO founder Jeff Stewart defends it to assess borrowers “the possibility of providing financial assistance to people who most need it outweighs the possibility of inaccuracy in credit-making decisions”.
“As we processed thousands of loans, our algorithm got better,” (Anthony Noel, Tech in Asia) Lenddo business development director notes that the bad loans ratio of Lenddo was better than the microfinance bank average. Nonetheless, the Lenddo core business has changed. The startup is focusing on further improving its intellectual property, the algorithm and the data analysis and its uses. Its clients aren´t just banks now. In fact, Lenddo has stopped lending money. The new areas of opportunities are companies that are hiring because its platform helps employers quickly validate the information provided by their applicants. Online dating sites acting as a doorkeeper to ensure safe dating, or ecommerce by directly avoiding credit card fraud, both for buyer and seller side can be secured, quickly check individual’s criminal record, telecommunications companies to provide documentation and other.
In 4 years of this short online experience, over 10.000 applicants have improved their financial inclusion in already 15 covered countries worldwide. Is this just the beginning of Lenddo?!