Fueling its efforts to expand access to credit and greater financial health, Atlanta-based fintech lender VIVA Finance has closed a $2.3 million seed round led by Acumen Fund.
VIVA is an online lending platform that differentiates itself by underwriting loans based on employment data rather than credit score, enabling more people to attain access to affordable credit at lower rates. The new funding brings VIVA’s total raised to $3.5 million since its formation in 2019.
With the proceeds from this round of funding, VIVA will continue to grow its employer partnerships and expand its footprint throughout the Southeast.
“We joined the Atlanta fintech scene with two goals: Provide a greater number of hard-working Americans with access to affordable loans and equip them with tools to build a brighter financial future. Amid current economic uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, our mission of building an inclusive financial system is more crucial than ever,” VIVA Finance Co-Founder and CEO Jack Markwalter said. “VIVA is excited to continue boosting the financial health of more people, and this latest funding round will enable us to do that.”
“Acumen America is proud to support VIVA as it models an alternative way of underwriting to expand access to affordably-priced credit products for Americans who are typically marginalized or exploited by the traditional finance services system,” said Acumen America Associate Director Eliza Roady. “We believe that VIVA’s employment-based lending solution has the potential to empower millions of Americans to achieve greater financial health while also mitigating creditor risk.”
A significant challenge in the financial system is that people who would benefit most from affordable credit often have the hardest time getting it, due to factors such as poor credit history and limited access to fairly-priced financial products and services. Without access to financial services and products that wealthier Americans can leverage, millions of Americans are forced to rely on over-priced and predatory financial products to make ends meet, creating vicious debt traps and credit score impairment.
That’s where VIVA steps in.
VIVA’s loans are frequently used to refinance expensive debt that often burdens individuals with limited financial options. While there is no credit score requirement for VIVA’s loans, borrowers can build their credit through on-time repayment. VIVA’s loans are serviced automatically through payroll, which makes repayment effortless while providing a built-in budgeting mechanism. VIVA also offers access to financial education resources with the goal of impacting lasting change on borrowers’ financial health.
“We at VIVA believe in providing those who are burdened by a lack of financial freedom with key resources to build long-lasting wealth,” VIVA Co-Founder and COO Hodges Markwalter said. “There is nothing more rewarding than helping people take control of their finances, and with that, achieving long-term happiness and emotional wellbeing.”
About VIVA Finance
VIVA Finance powers a mobile-first lending platform that offers loans underwritten primarily based on employment information rather than credit history. VIVA’s mission is to build an inclusive financial system by expanding access to affordable credit through its alternative underwriting model. Launched in early 2019, hundreds of individuals have utilized VIVA’s loans to refinance expensive debt and cover a variety of financial needs. Learn more at www.viva-finance.com.
About Acumen America
Acumen America is the U.S. investment portfolio of Acumen, the global organization dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in entrepreneurs, leaders and ideas. Since 2001, Acumen has invested more than $131M in 131 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. Launched in 2015, Acumen America invests in entrepreneurs who are building solutions to address poverty and inequity in the U.S. in the areas of financial inclusion, health and workforce development. Learn more at www.acumen.org/america.
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