Announcing the First Catalyst Fund Investment in Destacame

 
How could alternative data allow for better financial inclusion products for low-income customers?

How could alternative data allow for better financial inclusion products for low-income customers?

 

Catalyst Fund is excited to announce the inaugural investment in Destacame, an alternative credit scoring platform that uses data such as bill payment histories for basic services, to assess individual payment capacity and creditworthiness. Founded in 2014 in Chile, Destacame has pilots with nine financial institutions, has partnered with five utility companies, and has already amassed over 17,000 registered users.

Company Overview

CEO: Sebastián Ugarte
Website: www.destacame.cl
Year Founded: 2014
Market: Latin America

In Chile, Mexico, and throughout Latin America, many individuals do not have any reported information about their payment behavior and, for those that do, credit scoring is principally negative. Destacame solves this problem by aggregating and analyzing data from multiple existing sources of data, mainly utilities payment transactions, as well as geographic and socioeconomic information. It synthesizes the information and generates a score that an individual can use at their disposal. With users’ consent, Destacame can sell these scores to financial institutions (FI), who are looking for better, faster, and cheaper ways to extend credit and other financial products to the largely credit-invisible population in Latin America. 

Destacame innovates by:

  • Aggregating and analyzing data from multiple existing sources of data, principally utilities payment transactions, as well as geographic and socioeconomic information. It synthesizes the information and generates a score that an individual can use at their discretion.
  • Providing insight into 12 months of utilities payment history and basic customer ID verification (name, address, e-mail, phone number).
  • The “Credit Bureau of One” concept where individuals can actively manage their financial footprint and be empowered to take an active role in their credit report.
  • Validating a credit scoring model that incorporates positive payment information, which will help reshape credit scoring and lending sectors in Latin America.
Destacame aims to decrease information asymmetries between financial institutions and customers, and help people take control of their information and demonstrate to banks that they are good payers.

For consumers, this means:

  • The first chance for many low-income customers to include positive payment history on their credit reports and actively manage their credit history.

For financial institutions, this means:

  • An opportunity to reach more consumers who have a high Destacame score but have no formal credit history or a negative-only credit history.

  • Decreasing credit risks for FIs and increasing customer reach at a fraction of the cost.

Sebastián Ugarte and Jorge Camus, cofounders of Destacame

Sebastián Ugarte and Jorge Camus, cofounders of Destacame

Destacame was a BBVA Open Talent Latin America 2015 Special Financial Inclusion Award winner. The company also won the Chilean Avonni award for innovation and the Digital Bank Latin America competition in November 2015.

Over the next six months, Destacame will receive $100,000 USD in grant capital and receive the mentoring of its sponsor, Accion Venture Lab as part of the first cohort. The company will also work with BFA to identify specific advisory engagements towards strategic milestones and a growth trajectory. 

We see a strong fit with Destacame's service offering and the Catalyst Fund's objective to accelerate early-stage inclusive fintech innovators, and we think Destacame is an excellent launching point for Catalyst Fund's work. We also see a rich learning opportunity with Destacame in:

  • Using new digital datasets to develop cheaper financial products in comparison to traditional products, and making these digital financial services more accessible to underbanked populations.
  • Better understanding the kind of value that increases the ability of a company like Destacame to get traction with traditional banks and utility companies as partners.
  • Identifying the best approaches that a facility like Catalyst Fund can undertake to support Destacame in achieving its goals and reaching its strategic milestones.

We are thrilled to welcome Destacame to the first Catalyst Fund cohort. Congratulations to the cofounders, Sebastián and Jorge. 

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