Accion, a US-based nonprofit providing microfinance services in 32 countries, recently announced that it will invest an undisclosed amount of money in Aire, a UK-based startup focused on credit score data analytics. The investment is being made through Accion’s Venture Lab, a USD 10 million initiative that funds startups focusing on expanding financial access to the underserved.
Aire evaluates characteristics such as the consumer’s profession, education and financial knowledge to aid banks in assessing his or her creditworthiness.
Accion CEO and President Michael Schlein said: “Around the world, millions of people cannot access the credit that they need to launch businesses, buy homes, or build better lives. In many cases, this isn’t because they have bad credit history, but rather because they have no credit history. By providing an alternative to traditional credit scoring, Aire helps to extend financial services to more people who need them.”
As of March 2015, Accion, in association with its partner MFIs, has an aggregated loan portfolio of USD 7.54 billion serving approximately 5.33 million borrowers.
By Kevin van den Brink, Research Associate
Accion is a private, US-based nonprofit organization with the mission of alleviating poverty by offering financial products such as microenterprise loans and business training. Accion was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Accion’s partner microfinance institutions provide loans to men and women entrepreneurs through 64 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 32 countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia. As of March 2015, Accion, in association with its partner MFIs, have an aggregated loan portfolio of USD 7.54 billion serving approximately 5.33 million borrowers. As of December 2013, Accion reported total assets of USD 351 million.
Founded in 2014 in London, Aire uses a “machine learning algorithm” to assess data provided by applicants to create credit scores. The system considers data types such as educational level, profession and financial knowledge. As of April 2016, Aire is backed by White Star Capital, SparkLabs Global Ventures, Techstars and Accion Venture Labs.
Sources and Additional Resources
 Accion Venture Labs, Press Releases, “Accion Venture Lab to Empower Additional Creditworthy Consumers through Investment in Aire”
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Accion
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Aire
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