AvantCredit raises $20M for big-data-based personal loans

A Chicago-based startup called AvantCredit has raised a $20 million series B round for its personal loan service that uses machine learning algorithms to assess credit-worthiness. AvantCredit closed a $34 million Series A round earlier this year. It’s taking a page out of the ZestFinance playbook — lending to underserved markets at rates less usurious than traditional payday-loan providers — although that company now acts only as an underwriter rather than an actual lender.

Where machine learning and ‘human artistry’ meet your wallet

Even if you don’t agree with ZestFinance’s business, it’s hard to argue with its grasp of big data and applied mathematics. Now, the company has added a human touch to machine learning in order to make its models for assessing repayment risk even more accurate.

How big data might mean better business for big banks

By becoming an underwriter for some of the world’s largest banks and credit card companies, ZestFinance might actually be able to achieve its goal of using big data to supply the underbanked with needed credit. It’s not altruism by any means, but here’s how it works.

For ZestFinance, big data comes with big responsibility

ZestCash, the startup co-founded by former Google CIO and VP of Engineering Douglas Merrill to provide short-term loans to the underserved, has changed its name to ZestFinance and its business model, as well. Now essentially an underwriting service for lenders, can ZestFinance remain ethical?