Co-authored by Hanel Baveja
91 million Americans struggle to access money when they need it, often resulting in excess cost and low credit scores. Sadly, this is big business. This consumer group pays $106 billion in fees each year for short-term credit products. Frequently, this market traps consumers in predatory debt cycles of payday loans and overdraft fees.
Today, we’re excited to announce that in late Spring 2020 we led Possible’s Series B. Possible is applying technology to the short term credit market so it can offer consumers better options in hopes of both changing the market dynamic and creating a sustainable trusted brand and company. This investment aligns well with our Thesis 3.0 of investing in trusted brands that broaden access to knowledge, well being and in this case capital through technology.
Possible is a 100% digital short term lender and uses real-time bank data, rather than a credit score, to qualify customers, provide funds instantly and manage payments. On average, Possible’s instant loans are just $250, but that is often enough to help cover many emergency expenses in life.
A Possible loan is typically 1/4th the cost of a traditional payday loan. Because Possible feels confident in its data analytics on its customers, it can provide them with 4 times as long to repay and the benefit of repayment in smaller increments. While on the face they may charge the same $20 fee as a payday lender for $100 borrowed, that $100 borrowed often leads to $80 in fees within 8 weeks for a payday loan (assuming it’s rolled over 4 times within 8 weeks), but it only costs $20 with Possible.
Also, Possible reports on-time payments to the three major credit bureaus, enabling customers to build credit history and eventually qualify for cheaper, longer-term financial products. On average, customers with low credit scores see their scores increase by 70 points within 4 months.
The USV team thought long and hard about approaching this market segment. In the end, the idea of driving change using technology on such a massive problem was overwhelmingly positive. In Tony Huang, Possible’s CEO, and his team, we have found a great, mission-driven partner.
Interestingly, our Possible investment was done entirely digitally. We were introduced to the team at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, and therefore were unable to meet Tony and his Seattle-based team in person, opting instead for many online sessions. We’re excited for the next leg of our journey together as partners.
Possible’s tagline is “Financial Fairness is Possible” – we believe this mission will underpin a great business and trusted brand, and are happy to be joining this journey alongside existing investors Canvas Ventures and Unlock Venture Partners.