MIT Sloan Alum Startups Innovate In Fintech

fintech

MIT Sloan recently published an article by Kara Baskin how three fintech companies with MIT ties are disrupting traditional borrowing models for “credit cards, cars and education.”

Destácame is a Chilean free credit-ranking service that alumni Jorge Camus, MBA ’14, Augusto Ruiz-Tagle, Sebastian Ugárte (all MBA ’14) developed to “help middle-class Latin Americans marginalized by the current system display credit-worthiness to banks.” Destácame users enroll and input their utility bills into the software, which renders an objective, private score based on customers’ payment history. Since last year, Destácame has expanded to 160,000 users from 5,000, “with plans to launch in Mexico soon.”

LendBuzz was founded by Amitay Kalmar MBA ’10 to offer “private-investor-backed loans up to $40,000” for international students moving to the United States who want to buy or lease a car. Kalmar, who is originally from Israel, encountered this very issue when he moved to the States in 2008 and was denied a loan due to his limited credit history and thin credit score. LendBuzz analyzes the “borrower’s educational background, employment and banking history in their home country, and earning potential by validating job history using public data like LinkedIn.”

Pepijn van Kesteren, MBA ’16 founded Alfie, a startup that recently won the MIT FinTech Business Plan Competition. Alfie (or Alternative Financing in Education) offers total education financing for graduate students through 15-year income share agreements. Alfie’s algorithm predicts future earnings of applicants based in part on the prestige of their alma mater and then uses that prediction to “determine the percentage of future income a student needs to pay to support that funding level.” Right now Alfie “will work directly with universities to finance the loans,” which Kesteren says allows universities to bet on future graduates’ success.

“We’re trying to change the way Americans think about student debt and financing it. [Alfie] allows students to pursue jobs they truly want and ensures they don’t have to worry about being able to afford important life decisions. We need to do something about the cost of education, and income-based alternatives are a solution that brings back the freedom and opportunity that a university degree once stood for.”

Alfie reportedly “has plans to help users secure jobs after graduation through a job support program and, eventually, an alumni network.”

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