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Although entirely a product of Estonian FinTech entrepreneurs, askRobin has laser-focused on the markets of South America and Mexico. Their most recent funding of $1.7 million is aimed at elevating financial literacy and banking services in Latin America.
As some giant traditional banks write-off emerging markets as too risky, FinTech startups continue to fill that void with a set of services that only they could implement. The first such major player stepping up was Robinhood. Despite recent technical hiccups, Robinhood continues to attract investors and provides commission-free trading to its large user-base.
Likewise, askRobin was founded with a similar goal in mind just three years ago, in 2017, as an Estonian FinTech startup. At first, askRobin’s CEO and co-founder, Rain Sepp, lead the development of a Facebook-based chatbot platform to sleuth through all the available loans and find the most fitting ones for a risky credit market. Although successful, they soon realized they need to get actual lenders involved to serve these markets.
In recent years, askRobin evolved into a service similar to UK’s Credit Karma. Both utilize machine learning so that each customer has access to the most appropriate loan for their needs and their capability to pay it back. As of this writing, askRobin has gained the interest of the following investors:
Although minor investors on the global stage, they are critical in launching ideas that immediately aid those in need. Alongside these investment funds, individual FinTech enthusiasts participated in raising $1.7 million for askRobin. Some of them are established figures on the Baltic FinTech scene – Ragnar Sass of Pipedrive and Taavi Tamkivi of Salv, the anti-money laundering platform.
Most Westerners take their banking services for granted, but for most of the undeveloped world, this is a luxury only a few can access. askRobin serves as an intermediary in these markets. With the help of AI bots, they collect relevant data from potential customers and then create a credit profile that is viable on the loans market. The rest is a matter of matching the right borrower to the right lender so that their relationship can proceed without tension.
More importantly, askRobin saves people from predatory loan sharks. Undeveloped markets are not just undeveloped because the population is comparatively poor. Case in point, a large portion of employed middle-class borrowers in these markets are not able to access traditional bank credit.
Therefore, askRobin’s task is to also aid in building up the infrastructure for financial literacy and services. So far, this approach seems to be working for askRobin, as they’ve already expanded from Mexico into Argentina, Colombia, and Peru.
Do you live in one of the four countries serviced by askRobin? What was your experience in getting loans without FinTech? We want to know what you think in the comments section below.