INSIKT raises $50 million to lend to low-income communities

Loans can be the hardest to get for the people who need them the most.

An estimated 45 million Americans don’t have a credit score and others have trouble bringing up their scores, even if they are in a better financial position than in years past.

While most lenders would consider low-income families with bad credit scores to be too risky, a startup called INSIKT believes that it has better ways of assessing if people will pay them back.

And after facilitating 125,000 loans in three years, INSIKT is raising $50 million to expand. The round is led by Grupo Coppel, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Revolution Ventures and Colchis Capital. INSIKT has raised $100 million to date.

INSIKT has built what they believe is a better alternative to payday loans, breaking up payments into smaller installments. Its white-label loan processing service is used in over 600 banks and credit union locations across California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona.

“We want to change the landscape for underbanked people and help them improve their lives,” CEO James Gutierrez told TechCrunch. “There’s a lot of companies out there who want to offer that product but they don’t know how to underwrite.”

The average borrower makes just $28,000 per year, but instead of just focusing on income, they’re analyzing signals of responsibility. For example, if someone is consistent with other past payments, INSIKT views that as a sign that the person is reliable.

The business is “empowering the people who are working the hardest so they can succeed and have the American dream,” said Gutierrez.

But of course, with any loans, there’s the cost of interest. In INSIKT’s case, Gutierrez said that a $1000 loan will likely end up costing $1250 over time.

INSIKT plans to use the funding to expand to additional states and internationally.