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This startup helping immigrants and refugees carry their credit scores raises £13M

Pillar Founders
Image credits: Pillar

Pillar, the fintech developing a new global financial platform that will provide immigrants with access to credit products when moving to a new country is today announcing it has concluded its pre-Seed round of £13M. The funding was led by leading VC firms Global Founders Capital and Backed VC.

According to UN estimates, 82.4M people were forced to flee their homes due to internal displacement and conflicts. This number is likely to rise in 2022, with figures associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine suggesting the war has already created 4.6M refugees to date.

Andre de Haes, Founder of Backed VC commented, “One of the big problems consumers face when moving to a new country is how to access the financial products that they need. The team at Pillar has come up with a genuinely innovative solution to address the issues those consumers face and we look forward to assisting the team’s growth going forward.”

Solving credit access to immigrants

The current structure of the credit referencing market limits cross-border credit mobility. This means that consumers cannot take their credit profiles from one country to another. The result is that nearly all immigrants find themselves excluded from everyday financial services such as credit cards and loans. Those that manage to access financial services find themselves incurring a disproportionately higher cost of borrowing.

Pillar is tackling this issue through its technology which provides individuals moving to new countries with access to a variety of credit products in their new locations. Such a solution was in the past unattainable. The startup is utilising a combination of international credit data as part of a global credit assessment as well as reporting credit usage in multiple countries in order to assist consumers to build a global credit footprint. Pillar’s proprietary Open Banking-led data and analytics engine will help power the global scalability of the platform. The team at Pillar confirmed a launch date planned for Q3 in 2022.

Inspired by the Founder’s own struggle

The London-based startup was founded by well-known Revolut alumni Ashutosh Bhatt and experienced fintech CTO, Adam Lewis. Pillar boasts a number of high profile angels that have contributed to its cause including the founders of WageStream, Peter Briffet and Portman Wills as well as the former VP and powerhouse investor of AirBnB Oliver Jung.

Pillar’s CEO, Ashutosh Bhatt, explained how Pillar was inspired, “Ever since I moved to the UK and found I couldn’t access any of the everyday products I had in India this has been a problem I have been passionate about solving. I arrived earning a good salary at Barclays and found I couldn’t even get an iPhone! Fourteen years later, the world of credit still hasn’t changed, so we have set upon building a globally scalable platform that breaks down data silos and credit borders as well as solves this massive problem faced by financially secure people moving to a new country.”

The initial capital will be put towards the development of the platform and building out the operational infrastructure to support Pillar’s growth plans. The startup has already assembled a core team of some of the best talents in fintech with significant experience in areas such as Open Banking, neo-banking, lending and technology.

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