Aire Launches Pulse to Help Underwriters During COVID-19

There are two words that help summarize 2020: unpredictability and volatility. It turns out that both of these attributes are bad for a lot of things and that’s especially true for underwriting consumer loans.

Recognizing this issue, U.K.-based credit assessment services company Aire launched Pulse, a product to help lenders calculate risk in the post-COVID borrowing landscape.

“Lenders have always played catch up when understanding how existing customers perform on commitments elsewhere, and this challenge is exacerbated by the major CRAs’ Emergency Payment Freeze,” said Aire CEO and Founder Aneesh Varma. “In a rapidly changing economic situation, lenders need new tools that can understand the context of the consumer to help them detect emerging risks. Pulse is a quick, convenient and FCA-regulated way for lenders to spot financial change as it happens, providing lenders with a truly holistic view, gathered from the most up-to-date data source available to them: the consumer themselves.”

At its core, Pulse is a scalable communications tool. It enables lenders to collect current information from customers about their changing financial circumstances while maintaining fair and FCA-compliant account handling. The tool enables lenders to reach out to their existing borrowers via SMS and email to conduct an Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI) to gather information regarding disposable income levels and risk of financial difficulty.

It takes consumers an average of three-to-five minutes to complete the IVI, which asks for information such as employment status, current working hours, income level, household bills and expenses, and levels of savings. In order to ensure the information is correct, Aire cross-checks it against its own database of consumer information. After the assessment, Aire sends the lender insight into the consumer’s financial difficulty, affordability, and engagement.

Because of its proactive approach, Pulse offers lenders information about a consumer’s changing financial situation much faster than the traditional method of waiting for historical information from CRAs who identify changes in customer circumstances.

The underwriting and credit scoring space has always been an area of disruption for fintechs. Given that the new reality across the globe has multiple impacts on the economy and unemployment, we can expect to see more existing companies adapt their services to not only help underwriters understand and assess risk but also help consumers access cashflow when they really need it.

Aire was founded in 2014 and has since raised $24 million. Aneesh Varma is CEO.


Photo by Blake Wheeler on Unsplash

Intuit’s $7 Billion Bid for Credit Karma; FinovateEurope Salutes its Best of Show

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

How’s $7 billion for good karma? One of Finovate’s earliest alums Credit Karma is reportedly the target of what would be Intuit’s biggest acquisition to date. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cash and stock deal could be announced as early as Monday.

Credit Karma will continue to function as an independent company with founder and CEO Kenneth Lin at the helm. The acquisition gives Intuit, maker of online tax filing service TurboTax, another contact point with the online personal finance world. Credit Karma provides its members with access to their credit scores and borrowing histories, helps them monitor their accounts for security breaches and, perhaps most relevantly, has offered a free online tax preparation service since 2017.

If the deal holds up, Intuit will be paying a significant premium for Credit Karma. The personal financial wellness company was last valued at $4 billion, based on a 2018 private market transaction.


With another Finovate conference in the books, our Finovate Best of Show ranks has a new set of members. Congratulations to Dorsum, Glia, Horizn, iProov, Sonect, and W.UP for taking home top honors earlier this month at FinovateEurope!

The victory may have been especially sweet for Sonect, whose Best of Show award-winning demo was also the company’s Finovate debut. The Switzerland-based start-up offers what it calls “the world’s first social cash network” that enables consumers to access cash without having to visit a bank branch or ATM. Sonect offers merchants the ability to grow their business via increased traffic and gives financial institutions a way to extend their ATM networks without the cost of additional hardware.

The Best of Show win was also a first for Horizn. The company, which made its Finovate debut three years ago at FinovateEurope, offers a platform that helps employees and customers maximize the opportunities of digitized financial services. Horizn uses simulator microlearning, as well as gamification and advanced analytics, to promote digital adoption across channels.

And last but not least, a special tip of the hat to Dorsum, Glia, iProov, and W.UP, all of whom won Best of Show honors at FinovateEurope for a second year in a row.


Here’s a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.

  • Larky enters reseller agreement with Access Softek.
  • Bison Bank in Lisbon, Portugal selects PSD2-ready software from ndigit.
  • Techround interviews Tradeshift co-founder Mikkel Hippe Brun.
  • Bremer Bank leverages Backbase’s digital-first banking platform to fuel digital transformation.
  • Paysend’s multi-currency global account launches in Europe.
  • Kinetica launches Kinetica Cloud.
  • Futurex taps ISARA to bring quantum-safe cryptography and crypto-agility into its Key Management Enterprise Server (KMES) Series 3.
  • With new FCA license, Meniga seeks to expand product offering.
  • StrategyCorps and Digital Onboarding partner to help banks grow checking account relationships.
  • Baker Hill renews partnership with Washington Trust Bank to streamline loan origination and portfolio risk management.
  • Aire launches Credit Insight Suite to improve access to credit.
  • Coinbase becomes Visa principal to offer more feature for Coinbase Card customers.
  • InComm partners with Eezi to launch Poundland’s gift card program.
  • Enveil secures $10 million in Series A funding for secure data collaboration.
  • Trulioo adds image capture SDK to Trulioo GlobalGateway.
  • Amaiz taps ValidSoft for voice authentication.
  • OurCrowd expands focus on growing early stage tech companies.

Finovate Alum Features and Profiles

eToro’s Evolution – Social trading and investment platform eToro has never been one to stand still for very long. The company’s development cycle is fast enough to make even the most sprightly fintech jealous.

Lending Club Snaps Up Radius Bank for $185 Million – When Lending Club was founded in 2007, the startup aimed to serve as a place to help borrowers avoid dealing with banks. In a somewhat ironic move today, that same startup is becoming a bank itself.

Breach Clarity’s New Offering Provides Consumers Personalized Protection – Fraud detection and prevention company Breach Clarity announced this week it has developed a new platform to help financial service providers offer personalized protection for their customers.

New SumUp Card Empowers SMEs as Business Payment Makers and Takers – The company that has helped bring fintech innovation to e-commerce with its mobile point-of-sale (mPOS), card reading solutions now offers merchants a card of their own.

Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Move Your Business to the United States podcast features Aire CEO Aneesh Varma.
  • SumUp partners with donation software company to help charities to go contactless for Christmas.
  • TransferWise partners with Visa to enable real-time transfers to debit cards.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Gusto Teams with Trainual to Automate Job Role Training.
  • Finovate Global: Finn AI Powers Chatbots in South Africa; Token Drives Open Banking in MENA.

Around the web

  • Green Dot helps Walmart customers move more than $2 billion through the program’s virtual Vault savings program.
  • Top Image Systems shareholders approve acquisition by Kofax.
  • BuyerQuest joins the Tradeshift platform as an app partner.
  • American Banker highlights how PayNearMe helps marginalized cash users partake in ecommerce.
  • Trustly grows to 300 employees.
  • Silicon Canals features SumUp, Aire, Revolut, and Zopa in its list of top fintech companies to work for in London.
  • Ripple, IBM, SWIFT and nearly 100 other organizations launch the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA).
  • Forrester Research recognizes bpm’online as a “strong performer” in digital process automation for wide deployments in Q1 of this year.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Thoma Bravo to Acquire Ellie Mae in $3.7 Billion Deal.
  • Welcome to Day Four of FinovateEurope.

Around the web

  • ACH Alert unveils its latest Payment Data Xchange (PDX) service module within its flagship Fraud Prevention HQ platform.
  • Fidor Bank launches chatbot powered by Best of Show winner, Finn AI.
  • Paysend to offer money transfers to bank accounts in 34 European countries.
  • Zopa introduces new chairman Gordon McCallum, who will take over from co-founder Giles Andrew.
  • Kentucky-based Forcht Bank partners with Fiserv to upgrade its credit card program.
  • Finastra appoints Siobhan Byron as SVP and Head of Technology Enabled Managed Services (TEMS).
  • Aire inks reseller agreement with Experian.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $11 Million in Growth Funding

Alternative credit assessment innovator Aire has picked up $11 million in new funding. The London-based company, which demonstrated its Aire Credit API at FinovateEurope 2015, said the new capital will support the continued development of its credit insight engine, as well as support expansion in the U.S.

This week’s investment adds to the $5 million Aire raised in the summer of 2017, and takes the company’s total funding to $23 million.

“Aire is built on the premise that empowering consumers to play an active role in their credit assessment is the only way to give lenders a comprehensive view with which to make a decision,” company co-founder and CEO Aneesh Varma said.

Calling the announcement a “significant milestone,” Varma highlighted the participation of Experian Ventures, the venture arm of fellow Finovate alum and credit bureau giant, Experian. “This Series B funding is allowing us to push the Aire philosophy further into new markets, such as the U.S., as well as new sectors,” he said.

Aire improves the credit decisioning process by providing lenders with the tools they need to accurately assess thin file credit histories. When an applicant’s initial credit check reveals insufficient information, the applicant is directed to an Aire Interactive Interview. The applicant answers a series of tailored questions to create a “three-dimensional” view of their finances, focusing on issues such as affordability, stability, and financial resilience. Aire then creates and delivers a score based on this data that gives lenders insight into the applicant’s creditworthiness in the future rather than the past.

This latest funding for Aire was led by Crane Venture Partners, and featured participation from Orange Digital Ventures as well as Experian Ventures. The round comes two years after the company earned Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval, and accompanies news that Aire has scored more than $10 billion in credit across a variety of consumer credit categories.

Krishna Visvanathan, Crane Venture Partners founding partner praised Aire’s “unique contextual decisioning methodology” which he said “combines direct consumer engagement, new data sources, and (a) dynamic algorithm model” to help lenders make more accurate assessments of credit risk.

“Aire is yet another great example of a category-leading enterprise software company formed in Europe that is fundamentally changing an industry,” Visvanathan said, “and we are proud to support its new phase of growth.”

Aire was founded in 2014. The company’s partners include Zopa and the UK. arm of auto financing company, Toyota Financial Services.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Best of Show Winner Capitalise Goes Live with Interactive Brokers.
  • Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $11 Million in Growth Funding.

Around the web

  • Raiffesisen banks in Switzerland go live with Avaloq’s core banking system.
  • ID.me tops 10 million user milestone.
  • Fiserv launches new mortgage lifecycle integration solution, Mortgage Momentum.
  • Worldline announces expansion of its partnership with Rambus to provide ITSO smart tickets in the U.K.
  • The Paypers interviews Luke Flomo, Head of Ecommerce for Trustly.
  • BlueRush announces two new board members, Michael Beckerman and Paul G. Smith.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Baker Hill Brings its Cloud-Based Loan Origination Solution to First Bank.

Around the web

  • Online banking innovator Dollar Bank to upgrade its digital offerings with technology from Fiserv.
  • Brazil’s Nubank reaches milestone of 1.5 million digital account openings in six months.
  • Aire, Onfido, Trunomi, TransferWise, YoYo Wallet and Revolut earn finalist spots in TechCrunch Europas Awards.
  • Emailage announces expansion across APAC and plans to double the size of its Phoenix, Arizona office.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On the web

  • Braintree Powers RFID Payments for Eventbrite Attendees.

Around the web

  • Accion features Aneesh Varma of Aire on Medium.
  • Forbes: Blend Wants To Bring The $2 Trillion Mortgage Market To The Modern Era.
  • Seylan Bank selects Finastra (formerly Misys) for trade finance and corporate banking.
  • HSBC launches online data tool in collaboration with Xero, Sage and Intuit
  • TSYS President, COO Pamela A. Joseph resigns.
  • Actiance Announces Compliant Capture and Archiving Support for Microsoft Teams.
  • Blackhawk Network’s Hawk Incentives Launches Wallet-Enabled Prepaid Card for Promotions and Incentives.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services

Alternative credit scoring company, Aire, announced today it has raised $5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Sunstone Capital, with funds also coming from White Star Capital, which led the company’s 2016 Seed round. Aire’s funding now totals $12 million.

The London-based company plans to use the funds to drive recruitment. CEO Aneesh Varma said, “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.” Varma added that the new funds are a “strong vindication that we are making the right progress towards that goal.”

Founded in 2014, Aire leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer lenders new insight into borrowers with thin credit files. The company’s Interactive Virtual Interview adds a new layer of information to traditional credit bureau data. Because Aire’s credit risk analysis gives lenders access to a new pool of thin-file borrowers, the company has seen credit approvals grow by up to 14% on average, without increasing risk exposure.

Aire’s API integrates into the existing web and mobile workflows of the online credit application forms

Aire also announced strategic partnerships with P2P lender Zopa and the U.K. arm of vehicle finance company, Toyota Financial Services, who will leverage Aire’s API to enhance their underwriting and lending decisioning processes. These firms join credit card companies and high-street banks also benefitting from Aire’s API.

Earlier this year, Aire was featured in FinTechCity’s FinTech50 2017 list of top European fintechs and in January, we highlighted Aire’s role in our Fintech Filter for AI in 2017. Last year, the company made headlines when it announced it is now authorized and regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, placing Aire on the same playing field as the big three credit bureaus. The company debuted its API at FinovateEurope 2015 in London.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services.
  • New Investment Boosts Betterment Valuation to $800 Million.
  • Klarna Announces Strategic Investment from Permira.

Around the web

  • PayPal extends partnership with JP Morgan Chase, providing greater payment options for consumers.
  • Taulia joins European E-invoicing Service Providers Association.
  • Persistent Systems agrees to acquires Swiss firm Parx Werk in deal valued at $16 million.
  • ID Analytics partners with Acxiom to strengthen risk assessment and combat fraud.
  • Dwolla adds Multi-User Feature to the Access API Dashboard.
  • Neener Analytics joins Plug&Play fintech accelerator.
  • Tavant selected by Fairway Independent Mortgage To Transform Its Digital Lending Experience.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

European Alums Shine in FinTechCity’s FinTech50 2017

Less than a week before FinDEVr London 2017, we’ve learned that fifteen of the companies selected by FinTechCity for this year’s FinTech50, a list of top European fintechs, are alums of Finovate and FinDEVr conferences. This is up from last year, when 13 alums who made the list. last year’s list. Six of the companies on the 2017 roster are making repeat appearances: BehavioSec, Fenergo, Kantox, Mambu, Meniga, and Revolut.

Eight of the alums in the FinTech50 are headquartered in the U.K., three hail from Germany, two from Switzerland and one each from Ireland and Sweden. The judges for the FinTech50 are a panel consisting of 60 financial services professionals from banking, payments, venture capital, and public policy-making, among other relevant fields.

2017 marks the fifth year that FinTechCity has produced its roster of the most innovative fintech companies headquartered in the U.K. and Europe. The list is designed to focus on the technology innovations each company has developed rather than the amount of money the companies have made from their technologies.  In a statement at the FinTechCity website, the organization explains the sole criteria for inclusion in the FinTech50 as “the potential to become a game-changer or the competitive staying power to continue being one.”

Here are our winning alums for 2017.

Check out the full 2017 roster. FinTechCity also honored ten fintech startups in an honorable mention category, Hot Ten 2017. Ten companies have also been recognized as the founding members of the FinTech50 Hall of Fame, including Finovate/FinDEVr alums Currencycloud, eToro, Klarna, Nutmeg, TransferWise, and Zopa. Founded by Julie Lake (CEO) and Nicky Cotter, FinTechCity will also unveil the inaugural FinTech50 Asia later this year.