The way in which credit is being evaluated is starting to change, with new technologies offering lenders more precise and reliable data to work with. At the core of this shift are companies like Uplinq and Verde International, who have recently joined forces to help bring advanced behavioral, econometric and financial models into the credit lending process.
This week, we caught up with Pat Reilly, Co-Founder of Uplinq and CEO of Verde International to discuss more about Uplinq’s recent intellectual property (IP) acquisition of Verde’s AI engine and the impact it will have on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide.
Tell us a bit about your career to date?
I’m a veteran in the financial services space, with over 30 years of experience. Over my career, I’ve held senior positions within several legacy financial institutions and have used that experience to advise the likes of the United States Government and World Bank on matters relating to credit lending. I’m also a regular speaker at the G20, where I discuss the importance of credit lending and the impact it can have on underbanked and underserved populations. Since 2006, I’ve also led Verde International, a company that has developed credit decision platforms for banks that have been used in just about every market condition and in most commercial markets worldwide.
Why has Uplinq acquired Verde’s AI IP?
Between Uplinq and Verde you have two companies who are committed to modernizing the credit lending process, using data in a way that it hasn’t been used before. Together, we share a common goal; to transform the world of SMB lending. When I met Ron Benegbi, Founder & CEO of Uplinq, it became clear that there was a mutual interest to tackle this issue together. Subsequently, we began conversations about how we could closely align our businesses.
With the IP acquisition, Uplinq’s solution becomes highly scalable and can be offered to a wide range of bank and non-bank small business lenders globally. The acquired technology has served as a foundational component for the underwriting of over $1.4 trillion in loans over the past 15 years.
From these loan originations, we have amassed billions of data points, which have been scientifically tested and validated by local regulators. Additionally, we have a deep knowledge of local small business key risk and performance indicators. Uplinq now has this technology and is able to deploy it quickly and cost effectively to the broad commercial global market.
Why is it so important that SMBs get more access to lending capital?
Even before the pandemic, SMBs were struggling to attract lending capital at the same rate of their larger counterparts. COVID has made this situation worse and today many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. It’s an issue that affects all of us on a macroeconomic level.
Across the US, EU and UK, SMBs account for approximately 99% of all businesses, and employ around two-thirds of all employees working in the private sector. The statistics on a global scale are similar. Therefore, it’s no exaggeration to say that small businesses are the lifeblood of the global economy. It’s imperative, now more than ever, that we find a way to accelerate operating and growth capital to SMBs.
How can Uplinq’s technology help solve this problem?
Historically, lenders only had limited data to work off when assessing whether to provide SMBs with funding. For the most part, data was derived from a business’ accounting and banking records and from credit scores. However, to understand the business, you need to see the whole picture, which includes the world around it. This is something that business financials, or ‘off the shelf’ credit scores can never achieve. Financials and credit scores tell you a consequence, but they don’t tell you anything about a company’s true financial situation, its motivations, or the actions it’s taken to survive.
Uplinq is able to provide lenders with confidence, through the analysis of billions of unique and validated data signals, which go beyond traditional credit indicators, to make the most accurate decisions possible. Our platform allows lenders to gain insights on all SMBs in their portfolio.
This unique ability to incorporate so many data points into the credit evaluation process is especially meaningful in serving the unbanked, minority and immigrant small business owner. Uplinq’s technology can now empower lenders to better support these market segments, which have previously been unable to access credit, start businesses or contribute meaningfully to an economy on account of being ‘credit invisible’.
When is Uplinq due to launch?
Following its IP acquisition, Uplinq is now on the cusp of launching with plans to start offering its solution to small business lenders in early 2022. It’s a really exciting time to be part of the company and we’re all looking forward to hitting the ground running in the not-too-distant future. Uplinq is well positioned to transform the world of small business lending in a way that will have a meaningful and positive impact on millions of people’s lives.
To find out more about Pat and Uplinq, please visit: https://www.uplinq.co/