Deserve Launches Commercial Credit Card Program

Deserve Launches Commercial Credit Card Program

Payment-card-as-a-service startup Deserve announced it can now empower its banks and B2B clients via a new tool, the Commercial Card Platform, that enables customers to add a commercial payment card offering to their product lineup.

“We are extending our digital, cloud-native, mobile-first platform from consumer cards to commercial,” said Deserve CEO and Cofounder Kalpesh Kapadia. “With this, we will enable any financial institution or platform that serves other businesses to embed and issue commercial credit cards. For non-banks, this can be a significant source of revenue and can enhance brand loyalty. Our platform will enable those who serve small and medium-size businesses and corporations to offer true credit combined with sophisticated expense management.”

Formerly known as SelfScore, Deserve has re-imagined traditional credit cards by transforming the application and onboarding processes, as well as the credit card itself by bringing them into the digital-first era. The company enables businesses to provide a white-labeled or co-branded card program made possible via a set of configurable APIs and SDKs.

The new Commercial Credit Card product helps companies, banks, and online lenders offer a white-labeled or co-branded credit card product for their business customers. The full-service card product offering will include underwriting, instant virtual card issuance, digital wallet provisioning, and enterprise controls that will enable management to track, manage, and understand business expenses.

Customers Bank, which is headquartered in Pennsylvania and counts $19.6 billion in assets, will be the first bank on Deserve’s Commercial Card Platform. “Together with Deserve, we are looking forward to offering an exciting and valuable product to our small business customers, combining credit with powerful expense management,” said Customers Bank President and CEO Sam Sidhu.

Founded in 2013, Deserve raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Visa last fall, adding to the company’s $287 million in total funding. Among Deserves investors are Mastercard, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Sallie Mae, Ally Ventures, Visa, Accel, Pelion Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings.

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Deserve Raises $17 Million in Equity Funding

Deserve Raises $17 Million in Equity Funding

Credit-building payment card innovator Deserve just closed $17 million in equity funding this week. Contributors to the round include new investor Sallie Mae, as well as existing backers Accel, Pelion, Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings. This brings the company’s combined debt and equity funding to $95.5 million.

The California-based company will use the funds to build out its platform and add partners to its reward programs. The company currently offers users deals with six partners, including Amazon Prime, T-Mobile, and Wikipedia.

Originally known as SelfScore, Deserve rebranded in 2017 to enhance its focus on serving college students and Generation Z. The company offers Mastercard-branded credit cards for young, financially underserved consumers and others with thin credit files. The cards are made to appeal to international students and others, such as the company’s Founder and CEO Kalpesh Kapadia, who have recently moved to the U.S. and are having difficulty accessing credit. When it came to applying for credit in the U.S., Kapadia told Business Insider, “I got rejected every time. It was mostly for credit cards and student loans, given that I didn’t have a credit card history in the country.”

Deserve has three card options: Deserve Edu, which offers student benefits such as 1% back on all purchases and a free subscription to Amazon Prime Student; Deserve Pro, which offers no foreign transaction fees and 1% to 3% back on purchases; and Deserve Classic, which is specifically designed to help users build their credit.

The company leverages non-traditional data such as current financial health, education history, future employability, and projected potential earnings. Deserve combines those factors into a machine learning algorithm to determine applicants’ credit eligibility. The company’s cards are open to U.S. citizens, green card holders, registered international students, and H1B or L1 visa holders.

Founded in 2012, Deserve demoed a consumer behavior analytics service at FinovateFall 2014 under the name SelfScore. The company’s accounts are issued by Utah-based Celtic Bank. In April, Deserve closed on $50 million in debt financing to drive growth in accounts receivables.

SelfScore Rebrands as Deserve, Closes on $12 Million in Funding

SelfScore Rebrands as Deserve, Closes on $12 Million in Funding

Consumer analytics company SelfScore rebranded to Deserve today. The California-based company is still committed to providing underbanked Americans with access to credit, and to fuel that mission, Deserve has received $12 million in funding. Today’s 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 6 to 21 years. This group accounts for 25% of the U.S. 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 analyzing consumer attributes such as education, current financial health, and future employability. Sameer Gandhi of Accel described 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 United States. “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,” said 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.”

Founded in 2012, Deserve demoed a consumer behavior analytics service at FinovateFall 2014 under the name SelfScore. The company’s accounts are issued by Utah-based Celtic Bank. Check out our profile of Deserve in our Finovate Debuts series in 2014.

Finovate Alumni News


  • AutoGravity Partners with Global Lending Services.
  • SelfScore Rebrands as Deserve, Closes on $12 Million in Funding.
  • Credit Sesame Raises More than $42 Million, Unveils Robo Advisor for Credit.

Around the web

  • Avoka extends strategic partnership with Mitek for digital identity verification solutions.
  • Commercial loan origination, CRM are among the new features in Baker Hill NextGen solution.
  • OnDeck partners with Ingo Money and Visa to provide loans to SMEs via debit card.
  • Westpac NZ to transition to real-time banking platform from ACI Worldwide.
  • Regions Bank to add P2P payment and account-to-account transfer solutions from Fiserv.
  • iSignthis announces new agreement with operator, Dialinvest.
  • Payment Ninja to launch in the U.S. in November.
  • ThreatMetrix and partner to deliver ID verification for government and commercial digital services
  • Russian bank Lipetskcombank implements new mobile banking app built on Tranzware Mobile Banking from Compass Plus.
  • Accenture and nCino expand alliance to accelerate digital transformation within top U.S. banks
  • Symbiont joins Wall Street Blockchain Alliance as corporate member.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee to integrate risk insight solutions with Fannie Mae’s Ddsktop underwriter validation Service.

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


  • Check out sneak peeks from FinovateSpring demoing companies SpeechPRO, CallVU, ACH AlertnanoPay DefenseStorm, and SuperMoney.
  • InComm Partners with WeChat Pay Parent Tencent.

Around the web

  • looks at Payoneer and escrow service as a way to support B2B payments.
  • SelfScore launches Achieve Card to provide international students with access to credit.
  • New service from Azimo enables money transfers with just a phone number.
  • PYMNTS profiles LendUp’s target market focus.
  • Loan validation firm Global Debt Registry Adds Prosper to Network.
  • DemystData celebrates its one-year anniversary in Singapore by expanding its offices.
  • EyeLock receives patent for sequentially linking iris matching with facial imaging.
  • Wired gets into the algorithmic brains of Quantopian.

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.

SelfScore Raises $7 Million to Bring Credit to International Students

SelfScore Raises $7 Million to Bring Credit to International Students


Palo Alto-based SelfScore has raised $7.1 million in additional Series A funding. The round, led by Pelion Venture Partners and including existing investors, Accel Partners and Aspect Ventures, brings the data-analytics startup’s total capital to more than $15 million.

“Some of the most successful companies in this country were started and are run by international students,” SelfScore CEO and co-founder Kalpesh Kapadia said. “Our goal is to use this new round of funding to further educate current and future international students about why they should care about credit, and empower them to build it.” In addition to education, SelfScore plans to use the capital to expand its credit card portfolio and speed up new product development. As part of the investment, Blake Modersitzki, managing partner at Pelion, will join SelfScore’s board of directors.


SelfScore CEO and co-founder Kalpesh Kapadia demonstrated his technology at FinovateFall 2014.

SelfScore has leveraged its expertise in data analytics and machine learning to create a proprietary algorithm that provides insights into consumer behavior, including creditworthiness. From its inception as a “scoring as a service” supplement to FICO scores, the consumer analytics company launched its dedicated MasterCard credit card geared specifically for international students this spring, and has since seen 3x growth in the number of signups month-over-month. Pointing out that the SelfScore has managed its growth “with very little capital deployed,” Modersitzki added, “SelfScore’s unique data analytics and machine-learning approach is a game-changer for unleashing financial freedom with today’s generation of international students.”

Founded in 2014, SelfScore demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2014. The company was profiled by Tech in Asia and in June, and hired a new CMO, Venkat Bala, in April. Bala was formerly VP, head of early-stage consumer cards at Wells Fargo.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Slice Launches Smart Shopping Assistant Extension for Chrome
  • SelfScore Raises $7 Million to Bring Credit to International Students

Around the web

  • Temenos to provide core banking solutions for international microfinance specialist, Microcred.
  • US Bank Wealth Management to launch automated investing courtesy of new partnership with FutureAdvisor.
  • Entersekt brings its Transakt technology to the Middle East in collaboration with IST Networks.
  • Fortune follows CBW Bank’s journey.
  • Lighter Capital launches $25 million AppExchange Fund for Salesforce partners building AppExchange apps.
  • Crowdfund Insider interviews Rob Frohwein, Kabbage CEO and co-founder.
  • Xero named most-loved accounting software for second year in a row.

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 Debuts: SelfScore

Finovate Debuts: SelfScore

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. SelfScore demonstrated its consumer analytics service designed to supplement FICO scores with its “scoring as a service” approach.

SelfScore is a consumer analytics service that uses a proprietary algorithm to combine online profiles, phone and sensor data, psychometric questions, and 360-degree feedback from one’s network to provide insights. The resulting SelfScore can be used in a variety of consumer and business contexts, such as credit scoring, to yield a broader picture of a potential applicant, consumer, or business partner.
The Stats
    • Founded in January 2013
    • Headquartered in Palo Alto, California
    • Kalpesh Kapadia is CEO and Co-Founder
    • 10 employees
    • Partnerships include: AT&T, Fenway Summer, GradGuard, International Student Insurance
The Story
Consider the case of international students who come to the United States for graduate school. Many of these students were the smartest and hardest workers from their home countries and, further, have been vetted in many ways en route to being admitted to American universities and securing visas. International graduate students disproportionately pursue degrees in science, technology, and business fields that tend to yield high starting salaries.
But despite all these indicators of future success, international students who are new to the U.S. experience many difficulties and have a hard time finding fair deals on the services that are essential to life in modern America: things like credit cards, affordable health insurance, and smartphone contracts.
And while international graduate students are only a small portion of the underbanked in America, SelfScore’s research suggests that college students from the US face many of the same challenges. They have many predictors of financial success, but they face the same chicken and egg problem – you need credit to get credit.
“We believe that with new advances in social web and smartphones, it is now possible to attain a complete, timely, and accurate picture of consumer behavior that benefits both consumers and businesses,” said SelfScore CEO and Co-Founder Kalpesh Kapadia. In the long term, Kapadia thinks that tools such as SelfScore can be used to augment FICO and other traditional scoring methods. As more and more institutions begin to see what their current scoring strategies are missing, the demand for dynamic, comprehensive scores that incorporate social data could grow.
The Solution
To get a free SelfScore, users answer 24 questions at The questions range from the financial (“Does your credit card limit affect your spending habits?”) to general attitudes about life (“Do you believe that most people are more or less trustworthy?”) to the more personal (“What do you do when you are stressed?”). 

After you’ve answered the questions, SelfScore reveals your score and presents a set of offers you qualify for. My SelfScore of 457 merited an offer for a credit card and another to save $500 on a smartphone. 

Each offer is designed to be relevant to the needs of the current target demographic for foreign graduate students. SelfScore also provides a peer ranking as well, in which I learned that my financial score of 73 is above the average of 50, but my 250 Facebook friends is below the average of 340.
“In a sense, we are giving the user a comprehensive measure of their life and various dimensions of their life, and relative strengths,” Kapadia said.  He notes that some attributes may be more valuable than others, and suggests this reflects the great flexibility of the platform. 
The Future
SelfScore is working to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.The company is especially interested in meeting with lenders, insurers, and companies in the post-paid billing space that might be interested in “supplementing” their current financial metrics. “We want to serve tomorrow’s prime customers today,” Kapadia said.
Another objective is to expand their portfolio of  offers. The company currently features an AT&T subsidized smartphone offer and a credit card program, and affordable health insurance will be added soon. 
“There are 75 million underbanked customers in the U.S. right now,” Kapadia explained. “A third or 25 million of which would otherwise be categorized as ‘good apples’ who are generally being ignored because of a lack of credit history. At SelfScore, it is our mission to serve this deserving but underserved population.”
Watch a video of SelfScore’s live demo from FinovateFall 2014

SelfScore’s Consumer Analytics Solution Introduces “Scoring as a Service”

SelfScore’s Consumer Analytics Solution Introduces “Scoring as a Service”

This post is part of our live coverage of FinovateFall 2014.

Our next presenter is SelfScorewith its “scoring as a service” and “data as a service” approach to measuring consumers in better ways using more information.

“ is a consumer analytics service that uses a proprietary algorithm to combine online profiles, phone, and sensor data, psychometric questions, and 360 degree feedback from one’s network to provide insights to users and contextual information to businesses. We believe that with new advances in the social web and smartphones, it is now possible to attain a complete, timely and accurate picture of consumer behavior that benefits both consumers and businesses.”
Presenting: Kalpesh Kapadia (CEO & Co-Founder)
Product Launch: September 2014
Metrics: Privately funded just under $1M with a team of 8 experts, each with 10-20 years of industry experience ranging from financial services (VISA, Capital One) to tech giants (Amazon, Microsoft, VMware, Google, LinkedIn) to US military (US Cyber Command) and government (US Treasury, Consumer Finance Protection Board) to academia (Stanford and CMU PhD data scientists), currently have a working product undergoing a private beta
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Consumer (B2C), Direct to Business (B2B), through financial institutions, through other fintech companies and platforms, licensed
HQ: Palo Alto, CA
Founded: January 2012
Twitter: @selfscore

FinovateFall 2014 Sneak Peek: Part 7

FinovateFall 2014 Sneak Peek: Part 7

In the final FinovateFall Sneak Peek of our series, we’re showcasing nine companies: eMoney Advisor, Finovera, Luxoft, Minetta Brook, P2Binvestor, SAS Games, SelfScore, Sender, and Top Image Systems

These companies are coming to the Finovate stage in New York from all over the globe to showcase their newest fintech on September 23 and 24. Tickets are going fast; get yours here to be a part of it.
Want to see more of what to expect at FinovateFall? Here are some companies you may have missed:


With eMoney Advisor, if you’re a salesman with a practice selling products, it’s not for you. eMoney is built for advisors running a business based on relationships.

    • With EMX, you’ll work smarter, not harder
    • Integrations and ease of use are the future
    • eMoney’s latest technology will define advisor success
Why it’s great:
With so many enhancements, it’s easy to focus on eMoney’s features–but it’s more important to remember the benefits: eMoney solidifies the advisor/client relationship.


1) Chad Porche, Senior User Interface Designer  

2) Kyle Wharton, Director of Business Development  


Finovera is transforming Online Bill Pay into holistic personal financial management with eBills and payments at its core designed for banks and credit unions.

    • Receive, view and pay all bills – on bank site
    • Enables bill pay with credit cards – Banks get paid for offering Bill Pay
    • Great user experience – simple, convenient, attractive and mobile
Why it’s great
Transform your bill pay from cost center into revenue center



1) Purna Pareek, Founder and CEO
Pareek is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of the company. He founded Finovera to bring simplicity, efficiency and convenience to household bill and information management.
2) Amanda Zepeda, Marketing Manager  


Luxoft’s Horizon is a cutting-edge data visualization framework for financial institutions. It enables executives to quickly identify and resolve problems in multiple domains such as risk and regulation.

    • A fast and intuitive access to data
    • Ability to collaborate across roles and teams
    • Radically shortens the decision-making time
Why it’s great:
Horizon – executive dashboards that give you back control. There is no need to hide.


1) Przemek Berendt, Global Marketing Vice President
Global Marketing Vice President at Luxoft (NYSE: LXFT) responsible for its B2B, B2E, and CSR strategies. Berendt led Luxoft’s winning presentation at Finovate London 2014.

2) Fabrice Aresu, Head of Business Support Group

Aresu is Luxoft’s Horizon Product Manager, focusing on Advanced Data Visualization; he worked 15 years in Finance & Risk software, at Thomson Reuters and Oracle.


Minetta Brook’s KNEWSAPP allows trading and investment professionals to take advantage of news related market inefficiencies by surfacing tickers, topics, and stories that are currently developing in the news.

    • Track news, blog & tweet VELOCITY around your portfolio tickers, in real-time
    • Use its linguistics based STORY SCORES to prioritize what you read
    • Get to key active topics quickly, with STORY DNA
Why it’s great:

Track news, blog and twitter stories as they develop, well before they become headlines.


1) DB (Deepak) Bharadwaj, Founder & CEO
Technology pioneer at Microsoft & Sun. Built and ran multiple multi-hundred million dollar businesses. Over 20 years of technology expertise with specialty in operations & turnarounds.

2) Viplav Nigam, Head of Engineering

Built & ran NASDAQ’s trading system. Developed ultra low latency news feeds for trading at RTT News. Over 20 years of financial technology experience.


P2Binvestor (P2Bi) is a crowdlending platform for receivables-backed working capital that is supported by a crowd of accredited investors.

    • Integrates with QuickBooks Online (API sync)
    • Streamlines the online application and lending process
    • Facilitates better account management and underwriting
Why it’s great:
P2Binvestor makes it really easy for borrowers to apply, get funded, and grow their credit line as their business evolves. Up to $5MM available.


1) G. Krista Morgan, President and Cofounder
Morgan has an extensive background in digital marketing and account leadership for blue-chip brands at some of London’s top interactive agencies. COO for P2Binvestor since 2012.

2) Clay McIlrath, CTO

McIlrath is a seasoned technologist with more than a decade of experience developing software applications and working with start-up companies. 


SAS Games’ TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon is a fully automated, easy-to-use, market-disrupting, patent-pending, activity-based fundraising tool for children’s college savings.

    • Complements existing financial savings vehicles
    • Creates new college savings accounts and relationships
    • Enhances CRA outreach and provides a marketing tool for consumer and business banking 
Why it’s great:
The Game-a-thon provides families a solution to afford higher education by significantly increasing children’s savings, while improving their math skills and financial literacy.


1) Siobhan Mullen, CEO
Former aerospace executive and Special Adviser to the NASA Administrator, experienced high-tech entrepreneur in launch services, satellite communicatio
ns and data distribution.

2) Steve Scully, President

Serial entrepreneur and investor with a focus on children’s education through games, inventor of the TiViTz educational games and tournaments.


SelfScore is a disruptive consumer analytics solution that supplements FICO scores and informs a wide array of data-driven decisions.

    • SelfScore measures consumers in better ways using more information
    • Online profiles, phone data, and questions inform the score
    • Providing insights to users and contextual information to businesses
Why it’s great:

SelfScore uses a proprietary algorithm to attain a more timely and accurate picture of consumer behaviors that benefit both consumers and businesses.


1) Kalpesh Kapadia, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Kapadia’s professional career in finance and technology spans 20 years. Before co-founding SelfScore, managed Equanum Capital, a technology fund, from 2007 to 2012 and was the WSJ #1 Analyst in 2005.

2) Michael Hallinan, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer

Hallinan’s professional career spans more than 12 years of strategic innovation. Before co-founding SelfScore, he worked at U.S. CyberCommand and consulted Wall St. firms while at Booz Allen Hamilton.


Sender is the first messenger for businesses, enabling direct chat communication with customers. Sender – like Google’s Search Bar with endless possibilities. Sender – the last and only app.

  • Creates 2-way communication of business with customers like in usual chat
  • Provides possibility for businesses to create business processes without developers and endless softwareApps updates
Why it’s great
People communicate with each other via chats with similar interfaces. Businesses communicate with people via apps with various unique interfaces and user experiences. 


1) Kristina Chaiykovskaya, Department Head of E-business in PrivatBank

2) Maria Gurina, Liqpay Business Development Manager at PrivatBank 


3) Egor Avetisov, Creative director at Sender 


Top Image Systems’ next-generation mobile image capture and processing solutions, like GlassCapture, are designed to make account opening, bill payment and other mobile-initiated process simple and fun!

    • Optimal user experience leads to customer loyalty
    • Upfront validation ensures the image is correct 
    • Perfect image capture enables straight-through processing in the backend
Why it’s great:
FIs that establish a reputation for mobile innovation are likely to benefit in the future from greater market share and more loyal customers.