Nicky Goulimis, co-founder and COO of Nova Credit, spoke with Efma’s Boris Plantier about how she and her co-founders’ experiences as immigrants in the U.S. resulted in the founding of their company.
What led to the creation of Nova Credit?
The company was founded in 2016 by Misha Esipov, Nicky Goulimis and Loek Janssen, all of whom were immigrants to the U.S. and had firsthand experience with the challenges that face newcomers who lose their credit history upon arrival.
Esipov’s family came to the U.S. from Russia in 1990. His mother was denied a car loan for years for lack of a credit score. COO Nicky Goulimis came here from Britain to do an MBA at Stanford, where she met Esipov and Janssen. She was denied a credit card despite a solid history of paying off student loans and credit card bills. Loek Janssen faced the same issue as a student from the Netherlands.
The company has received $70M in funding to date from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Canapi Ventures, General Catalyst, Index Ventures and Nyca Partners, among others.
Could you present Nova Credit's offer?
Many newcomers — both immigrants as well as some returning citizens are rendered “credit invisible” upon arrival because domestic underwriters can’t access international credit data. Even if they have a good credit rating at their prior home countries, newcomers struggle to accomplish the most basic tasks such as getting an apartment lease, a cell phone plan, credit card, or student loan. Even people with extensive credit in their prior home countries must take on the onerous task of building their credit history back to its previous levels from scratch, which can take as long as five years.
What's coming next for Nova Credit?
Our current focus is on scaling the newcomer segment we can serve. First and foremost, this means expanding our data capabilities: not only adding more countries but also investing in alternative data and increasing our analytics toolkit. This means we’ll be able to serve newcomers who may not have had credit histories abroad. Secondly, we are exploring launching our offering in other markets in Europe and North America—which also attract large numbers of migrants annually. Lastly, we want to serve newcomers to ever greater levels of satisfaction: further expanding our newcomer website as a “one-stop-shop” with more content and product offerings for broader use cases.