Credit Benchmark Gets Further $20M For Its Consensus Credit Risk Platform

A year on from an Index Ventures-led $7 million Series A, London-based fintech startup Credit Benchmark has extended its runway with a $20 million Series B. The startup is building a platform aimed at improving financial market benchmarks and risk assessment analysis by aggregating anonymized credit risk data from multiple banks to build up consensus data.

Credit Benchmark’s new financing is led by Balderton Capital. Tim Bunting, general partner at Balderton, has joined its board of directors. Existing investor Index also participated in the round.  The new funding will be used to expand its data gathering efforts with global IRB banks, extend its credit risk assessment platform and grow its international team and presence, it said today. “Staffing up is very important — data scientists, and customer-facing people are really where the focus is,” a spokeswoman told TechCrunch.

On the international expansion front, it announced the formal launch of its U.S. presence today (and the appointment of ex head of global sales and client services at S&P Capital IQ, Harry Chopra, as its a chief commercial officer there), although it already had a New York-based team. Chopra’s brief is to bring more banks on board and feeding data into the platform.

A year ago Credit Benchmark said it had a dozen global banks in the U.S., U.K. and Continental Europe committed to supplying data. It’s now no longer disclosing how many banks it has but says it’s added “new contributors”. Whether some banks that had previously signed up have since dropped out is unclear. It’s also not breaking out customer numbers at this stage. Since it last raised, Credit Benchmark adds that it has “invested heavily” in security and scalability for its platform.

This time last year the startup also announced the launch of a commercial service. However turns out that launch was delayed until this month. The spokeswoman confirmed the launch took longer than anticipated, suggesting lengthy compliance processes involved with getting contributor banks on-boarded are to blame, rather than a lack of interest from banks in getting involved with a consensus, data-sharing credit risk model.

“The service does depend on the contributing banks and now we have critical mass there so we’ve been able to deliver our service outputs, so the commercial service launched just now this month,” she said.

“The signing up of banks is going along well. I can’t reveal numbers unfortunately,” she added.

Beyond its pitch that consensus credit data offers a more precise and up-to-date model for ratings, it also claims its approach allows it to offer risk assessment data on various entities that are not assessed by traditional credit risk sources, such as agency ratings and credit default swap prices. These additional entities include unrated sovereigns, hedge funds and unrated public and private companies. (A line on its website claims its model covers “a universe 90% unrated by traditional rating agencies”.)

Credit Benchmark’s plan to provide transparent credit information on more than 200k companies will provide huge value to all market participants. The need for better data has never been higher,” comments Balderton’s Bunting, in a statement.