CAMBRIDGE, Mass.: September 4, 2014 – Cignifi, which is helping to meet the needs of more than 1 billion people worldwide who have mobile phones but no access to formal financial services, today announced the closing of a Series B funding round. The capital raise was led by existing investor Omidyar Network, a Redwood City, CA-based philanthropic investment firm, established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, with additional investments from American Express Ventures and other existing investors. Cignifi is based in Cambridge, MA with offices in Sao Paulo, Mexico City and Accra, Ghana.
“We’re very excited to have Omidyar Network continue with Cignifi as a strategic partner and to have American Express Ventures join us as an important contributor to our growth plans,” said Jonathan Hakim, President and CEO of Cignifi. “This financing represents a major step forward for Cignifi and for our proven big data engine, which delivers credit and marketing scores for consumers using mobile phone behavior data.”
The Cignifi platform is capable of qualifying millions of underserved consumers who lack traditional credit histories, unlocking an opportunity to provide access to credit for emerging consumers. Cignifi’s solution employs behavioral data of mobile phone users to assess credit risk with as little as four weeks’ calling history required to perform analysis.
Working with telecommunication partners across the globe, Cignifi looks at mobile phone data of customers who have agreed to provide access to their information for credit assessment purposes. Looking at this anonymous and encrypted information, Cignifi’s propriety algorithm identifies calling, texting and payment patterns and habits in order to predict customers’ creditworthiness so that financial institutions can offer banking products to these underserved customers.
“Omidyar Network is pleased to extend and deepen our relationship with Cignifi, an innovative big data company that is helping a broad base of financially-excluded mobile phone owners meet their credit and insurance needs,” said Arjuna Costa, investment partner at Omidyar Network. “This latest investment fits squarely into our Financial Inclusion Initiative, which works to provide underserved consumers with the financial services and products they need, with the respect and dignity they deserve. Using mobile data, Cignifi’s behavior-based credit scoring platform has the potential to fundamentally transform the financial services paradigm to one that is more responsive to the needs of emerging market consumers.”
“American Express Ventures is pleased to add Cignifi to our portfolio as our first investment under our new Financial Inclusion Initiative. We are committed to investing in companies that support our shared mission of using technology to improve the lives of financially underserved individuals across the globe,” said Rohit Bodas, Partner, American Express Ventures.
Cignifi is working with mobile operators and financial partners in Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Chile and elsewhere to help identify qualified leads, lower the costs of acquiring customers, and underwrite loans to consumers with no formal credit history.