UK-based Pillar picks up €15.6 million to tackle credit access problem for migrants

The reality is that new immigrants are excluded from the financial system, on a global level, and it’s a problem that creates financial disparity, social hardship and exclusion. On a mission to eradicate this discriminatory issue, Pillar has just picked up about €15.6 million in pre-seed funding to build a new credit platform. 

The funding was led by VC firms Global Founders Capital and Backed VC. A number of high profile angels have also contributed to the raise, including the founders of WageStream, Peter Briffet and Portman Wills as well as the powerhouse investor and former VP and investor of AirBnB Oliver Jung.

Founded in 2021 by well-known Revolut alumni Ashutosh Bhatt and experienced fintech CTO, Adam Lewis, Pillar’s technology will provide individuals moving to new countries with access to a variety of credit products in their new locations, that would have previously been unattainable.

With the current structure of the credit referencing market, a consumer cannot take their credit file from one country to another. As such, nearly all immigrants find themselves excluded from everyday products such as credit cards and loans. Those that do manage to access a product find themselves paying a disproportionately higher cost of borrowing.

At the heart of Pillar’s product is a proprietary Open Banking-led data and analytics engine that will power the global scalability of the platform. The launch is planned for Q3 in 2022. 

Ashutosh Bhatt, CEO of Pillar, commented: “Ever since I moved to the UK and found I couldn’t access any of the everyday products I had in India this has been a problem I have been passionate about solving. I arrived earning a good salary at Barclays and found I couldn’t even get an iPhone! Fourteen years later, and the world of credit still hasn’t changed, so we have set upon building a globally scalable platform that breaks down data silos and credit borders as well as solves this massive problem faced by financially secure people moving to a new country.”

Bhatt further explained the product: “Through Pillar, anyone moving to the UK from another country can have a credit card in their pocket before they board their flight and instantly get on the credit ladder. Plus, we aren’t stopping with this use-case, we want to take this service and experience globally to credit markets around the world. The UK and Europe are just the beginning, we are building out infrastructure in the US, Africa and Asia. It is about time that credit products as well as credit data systems are redeveloped from scratch, there has been no real innovation in the past half a century in this space.”

This pre-seed capital will be used to develop the platform further and build out the operational infrastructure to support the firm’s growth plans. Already the team counts on an impressive team representing talent in the fintech market, with experience in Open Banking, neo-banking, lending and financial tech. 

Gerald Parloiu, Partner at Global Founders Capital, commented: “We are hugely excited about this investment. Pillar is a genuinely differentiated offering solving a big problem in the market using disruptive technologies. We are delighted to be partnered with the team at Pillar.”

Andre de Haes, Founder of Backed VC, added: “One of the big problems consumers face when moving to a new country is how to access the financial products that they need. The team at Pillar has come up with a genuinely innovative solution to address the issues those consumers face and we look forward to assisting the team’s growth going forward.”