In this part of our CODE_n CONTEST series, we talked to FinTech Finalist CRiskCo, an American startup revolutionizing the credit approval process. With CRiskCo, loan providers can expect help for key challenges such as financial data acquisition, response time reduction and better risk assessment. The startup’s infrastructure connects to accounting systems in a one-click process, collects relevant data, standardizes it, and sends it to the loan provider in seconds. CEO Erez Saf told us all the details!
What is CRiskCo all about? How did you come up with the idea?
Erez: CRiskCo is disrupting the credit information business, a field ruled by giants such as D&B and Experian, which lack the tools and data needed to predict or manage credit portfolios. We help businesses reduce bad debt and make good credit decisions by providing credit risk information, by predicting future defaults and by assessing risks of current and potential customers. CRiskCo’s revolutionary approach includes the use of unique Artificial Intelligence algorithms, Big Data models and a cloud based technology. CRiskCo’s goal is to enable trust between businesses worldwide and enable new credit solutions to address SMB’s needs.
In my former role as CTO for a SAP Partner and an SME consultant, I had developed ad hock solutions for businesses to manage and control their credit customers’ portfolios. I personally witnessed businesses deal with dozens of poor clients, who defaulted or displayed sporadic payment behavior. A couple of years later as the CIO of eLoan.co.il, a P2P lending platform, I was exposed to some great tools and innovative ideas for managing individual’s credit portfolios, which I noticed that the SME community lacked. This is what drove me to start CRiskCo.
“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?
Erez: We are disrupting the 120 years old business credit information market, controlled by dinosaurs such as D&B and Experian, who lack the innovation and tools needed to predict whether a business customer is great or doomed to fail. Our platform changes the way business credit information is used – not as a one-time report based on partial and outdated information, but as a continuous stream of real time information, forming a relationship between vendor and supplier, and providing ongoing security and alerts to prevent credit failures and defaults. The credit data ownership will shift from the credit bureaus to the businesses themselves.
You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Applied FinTech contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?
Erez: The financial landscape includes huge players, traditional companies and lots of bureaucracy and regulation. Operating in this environment is extremely challenging and time consuming, with sales cycles of between two and three years. Our approach is to create partnerships with strategic players and achieve small win-win gains for traditional banks. The combination of Fintech companies with traditional players who lack the innovation is the best way to bring new ideas and benefits to this market. We are proud to have major partnerships with leading financial institutions in Europe and in the US.
The client’s trust is a very important factor in the financial industry. Is it hard for you as a startup to gain that trust in competition with traditional firms?
Erez: Great question. Luckily for us, my co-founder comes from CheckPoint, the leading software security company, and one of our advisors, Ran Harpaz, was Head of consumer strategy for mobile products at PayPal. Together with their experience we created a safe, secure and friendly platform that passed some severe hacking tests and has been certified to work with our partners. This was an important step in gaining our clients trust. By partnering and co-branding with traditional lenders we are able to further communicate our technical and business stability, and our core values to our audience.
Thank you for the interview, Erez!