When Kristy Kim started TomoCredit in early 2019, she was on a mission to help international students get credit more easily.
Three and a half years later, this mission has evolved. TomoCredit, which aims to help financially healthy young adults without a credit score, is no longer solely focused on immigrants.
Today, Tomo is expanding its reach to a broader group of people in the United States who want to “build credit quickly,” including domestic students and SMEs.
“As we grow, we realize that the target market we can address is much larger than we expected. We now know that the invisible credit goes far beyond immigrants“, CEO Kim said TechCrunch in an interview.
Tomo is different from many other credit offerings in that it doesn’t rely on FICO scores to underwrite. Rather, it applies a Proprietary underwriting algorithm (Tomo Score) to identify “high potential borrowers” with no credit score. The TomoCredit card requires no credit check, no deposit, 0% APR and no fees. fintech offers cardholders credit limits of up to $30,000 based on their cash flow. It makes its money solely through interchange fees charged to merchants, not directly to consumers.
Sound risky? Well it is.
But Kim argues that the company’s default rate – at 0.11% – does not reflect that risk. (For context, American Express reports a default rate of 2.5%.)
“Our clients spend thousands of dollars a month, far more than any other fintech client,” she said. “We learned this from talking to other neobanks.”
“Our customers don’t have financial problems…Once you identify them and give them a card, they spend a lot and don’t default. Our performance has been excellent and this has given us and our investors the confidence to move forward. »
To help bring more credit to even more Gen Zers, TomoCredit today announced that it has raised $22 million in a Series B funding round at a post-money valuation of $222 million. It also secured $100 million in debt financing. Since its inception, TomoCredit has raised $39 million in equity.
The increase follows a year in which the startup reports recording 1,000% revenue growth, which Kim described as “mostly organic.” Tomo is on track to deliver another 1,000% year-over-year revenue growth, she said.
Kim declined to disclose the number of Tomo cardholders, but said he received 2.5 million requests over time.
The fundraiser, Kim notes, was a “locked deal” before the market turned and the valuation was agreed earlier this year.
The company plans to use its new capital to diversify its product offerings, such as offering auto loans and mortgages. Yes, mortgages. Kim views the fact that the mortgage market is currently under stress as an opportunity.
“During the pandemic, we have seen a large increase in applications. During a market downturn, we see another spike in customers coming our way,” she told TechCrunch. “In times of uncertainty, customers become more concerned about their personal finances.”
Since its inception, Tomo has operated with a lean mentality. It now has 50 employees. Some of its new capital will also be used to hire more engineers and product specialists, Kim said.
Interestingly, Morgan Stanley’s Next Level Fund and Mastercard participated in the “oversubscribed” portion of the funding, which included participation from GoldHouse, Asian Hustle Network and Hyphen Capital. Debt was provided by Silicon Valley Bank.
“As a first-generation South Korean immigrant, I wanted to help immigrant communities achieve their American dream faster with TomoCredit,” Kim said. “It’s been wonderful to partner with minority-focused funds that truly understand Tomo’s mission.”
Alice Vilma is co-portfolio manager of Morgan Stanley’s Next Level Fund, which invests primarily in early-stage technology and technology companies with women or diverse managers as part of their founding teams. She said she was drawn to TomoCredit because she was impressed with Kim’s ability to identify a problem as a young immigrant and turn it into a new financial product.
“She understands what clients like her want and need from the financial services industry,” Vilma wrote via email. “We are thrilled to be part of TomoCredit’s journey as it strives to democratize access to credit and create a more inclusive credit landscape.”
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