When we think about how we can have an impact in this world, we find ourselves coming back to everyday challenges a majority of people face: paying their bills and keeping their families fed.
The first time I understood this was at 7 years old when I visited Bangladesh. My grandmother employed a young boy only a few years older than me. At the end of each day, he would wrap up his uneaten meal and walk 3 miles back home to share it with his mother. That was probably the first time I understood the lengths people will go to when they are poor.
Fast forward to today in our own country, Americans are trapped in the cycle of survival. That became a lot more visible with the pandemic, exposing how many individuals and businesses are living paycheck to paycheck. Just like that boy in Bangladesh, people everywhere go to tremendous lengths to survive. What if all of that energy could be channeled into anything other than survival?
The difference between surviving and growing for many is access to equitable financial services. But in order to make financial services available to underserved populations, a new system of credit needs to be built from the ground up.
At our last company, we had a first-hand view of how a new set of people with no financial history or bank account could suddenly access financial services through their phones.
At pave.dev, we’re building the underpinnings of a financial system that can serve whole new populations that were either left out or underserved.
Why an API?
There are more than a thousand communities in the U.S. that are underserved with unique financial needs requiring corresponding financial services. Each of these financial services needs to quickly and efficiently assess data of an individual’s or business’s financial profile in order to extend a loan, insurance policy, or personalized spending recommendations.
Most of this data is generated digitally, but there is little infrastructure that extracts insights that shed light on these financial profiles. They could be paying their bills and generating income, but none of that matters if that data isn’t included in the traditional credit system.
Millions of Americans are financially underserved simply because their data is not recognized by the traditional system.
Our ability to make the maximum impact on millions of people is by building a service that removes the friction for any company to offer more customers with financial services by considering more data.
Our entire careers have been focused on building B2B data solutions and proving out how leveraging data in the right way can generate outsized returns.
We first found this to be true at our first company, GraphScience, where we built one of the first ad optimization platforms on Facebook and generated $5 in revenue for every $1 in ad spend for brick and mortar retailers. This was in 2010 when most thought of Facebook as a way to build brand awareness rather than revenue. But once Facebook’s unique data around their users was understood, the ad dollars went from drips to a firehose overnight.
More often than not, people don’t really understand how data can be used to create more value. But once it is discovered and made accessible — like in the case of Facebook ads, or in our case today with financial services — it creates a whole new ballgame.
Where we’re headed
Our mission is to help create a future where every person in the world has access to equitable financial services. To build towards this mission, we need to enable developers to build personalized financial experiences with as little friction and cost as possible. This comes down to a focus on 3 areas:
- Build the largest selection of data integrations
- Maintain the highest performance on data quality
- Offer a growing number of new insights and use cases
We’re excited to be building this journey with you!