Does the number of text messages you send, or the time of day you make your first phone call, say something important about how credit-worthy you are? Cignifi believes it does.
Cignifi, is a small Cambridge start-up with roots in the UK, raised $2 million in funding to commercialize its technology this year, after a pilot test in Brazil in 2011. In 2011, Cignifi raised about $600,000 from individual investors including John Carlson, the portfolio manager for emerging markets at Fidelity Investments, Alex Goldberg of Canary Ventures, and Larry Rosenberger, the former chief executive of Fair Isaac, the company that developed the FICO score. And last month, the start-up received a $125,000 grant from the World Bank.
Cignifi is revolutionizing the way financial service companies meet the needs of an estimated 2.7 billion people worldwide with a mobile phone but no access to formal financial services. Cignifi has the first proven credit scoring solution capable of closing this gap.
The company’s patent pending behavior-based score engine delivers a suite of credit risk and response scores for anyone with a mobile phone. Cignifi’s scores provide the underwriting and marketing efficiency needed to profitably serve and reach the world’s growing middle class. A team of world-class behavioral mathematicians in Oxford, England developed the company’s technology.
In Brazil, the company is focused on the 100m people – three-quarters of the adult population – that are now characterized as middle class but have limited access to financial services. With less than one half of adults possessing a credit card, and less than one third with access to insurance the company seeks to bridge this gap using the mobile phone networks that provide efficient access to 90% of the population.
Cignifi is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in São Paulo and Oxford.