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.