In India’s rapidly-developing economy, millions of people with little or no experience using formal financial institutions find it virtually impossible to access loans, as they have nothing on which to build a credit history. Enter CreditMantri, a Chennai-based startup that has developed a proprietary algorithm that pulls in other data sources to build fuller credit profiles.
“A lot of consumers are not even aware of what their credit report looks like,” says CreditMantri co-founder Gowri Muhkerjee. In this interview, she explains how the company uses not only information from credit bureaus and banks, but also government records and “user-generated data” — social media, SMS data, calling records — to help their customers present a more detailed and robust account of their creditworthiness. “The neutral credit segment, which has never borrowed before and for whom data in the bureau is very shallow, actually has the most benefit,” she says.
Mukherjee, a veteran of the financial services industry, finds her work satisfying on both a personal and a professional level. As she puts it, “For me, the most rewarding thing has been the number of users who’ve actually understood where they stand in terms of their credit profile.”
Accion first partnered with CreditMantri through Accion Venture Lab in 2015. CreditMantri and the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, managed by Quona Capital, have partnered since 2017.
For more on CreditMantri, listen to an Accion Venture Lab VentureKast podcast interview with Ranjit Punja, another of the company’s founders.