Intuit Accelerator definitively associates Fintech with AI


José V. Fernández first became interested in using technology to accelerate financial inclusion when he arrived in New York from Spain about 10 years ago. His work as a commercial agent for Spain did not impress many potential landlords, none of whom rented an apartment from him because he had no credit rating in the United States. Finally, a company agreed to sign a one-year lease, but only if Fernández paid six months of his expensive Manhattan rent in advance.

A few years later, Fernández co-founded a financial technology company to open up microcredit to unbanked people in West Africa. Then, last year, he founded Bankuish, which aims to give workers and freelancers a way to access banking services they wouldn’t normally be able to access. “I believe financial stability is the basis for leveling the playing field, so people can stop surviving and start planning and thriving,” he says. “We are trying to create better systems for underserved communities. “

Fernández is also one of seven startups in the Intuit: AI Prosperity Accelerator, the latest version of the financial and software company startup program. The five-month accelerator is aimed at nascent fintech companies targeting consumers and small businesses in North America and wanting to use AI to build better platforms. Intuit Canada, which sells financial products such as TurboTax and QuickBooks, manages the accelerator with Highline Beta, a venture capital studio and venture capital firm focused on driving the growth of large companies through capital development. -risk and start-up partnerships.

In September, Intuit also announced the launch of Intuit Ventures, a corporate venture capital program investing in stage B and C companies.

Branching out

According to David Marquis, national director of Intuit Canada, the idea for the accelerator – the first cohort, which focused on Canadian startups, took place last year – came in response to the pandemic. “We wanted to help startups that help small businesses and consumers suffering as a result of Covid,” says Marquis.

This time around, the accelerator has branched out to include North America, with a focus on AI. Intuit recently invested a major stake in the field of AI, with a strategy to integrate the technology into its application development process.

The accelerator is also leveraging the growing number of startups using fintech to achieve broader societal goals. “We can help consumers and small businesses become more efficient and improve their financial prosperity,” says Marquis. “I see it as a fintech for a good initiative. Other startups in this industry include Self Financial, MAJORITY, and Watson Living, to name a few.

Growing user base

As for Bankuish, it is currently focusing on Brazil and Mexico, where it has partnered with around eight banks. In these countries, according to Fernández, only 30% of people are fully banked and have access to loans. thus, he says, financial institutions are eager to find creditworthy borrowers among the remaining 70%. It plans to expand to the United States and Canada at some point in the future.

The platform analyzes data from a plethora of sources for gig workers and freelancers, from every transaction made, for example, by an Uber driver to that person’s bank account, and then provides a recommendation to banks. to find out if the person is a safe candidate for a loan. , how much to lend and under what conditions. Fernández says he started with this population because of the embarrassment of the wealth they have in terms of data that can be analyzed and evaluated.

Its objective for the accelerator: to integrate AI into the platform, thus allowing an experience more adapted to each user. According to Fernández, as its user base grew at a rate of 42% month-over-month, with that increase came greater complexity. “It means there are a lot more people from different economic backgrounds and a lot of other situations,” he says. “We can’t statically program for all of these situations and that’s where the AI ​​comes in.”

Aki Andersson


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