Prodigy Finance is a boutique fintech firm whose mission is to provide educational loans to postgraduate international students who would not otherwise have access to such financial programs. Essentially, they focus mostly on international students from emerging markets. The outfit has, so far, raised $240 million in an initial funding round, which is one of the largest such funding rounds by a UK company in 2017.
This round of fundraising has also marked Prodigy Financial’s 10-year anniversary. Over the course of the last decade, then, the company has already provided at least $325 million in funding to more than 7,100 students from around the world. They report that the fundraising includes one round totally $40 million in equity, led by efforts from international venture capital firm Index Ventures. Balderton Capital and AlphaCode have also participated; and a global investment bank has also managed a $200 million debt facility.
Now, Prodigy Finance is also known for founding the world’s first globally enforceable credit model. The firm works exclusively with only the top 100 universities in the world in order to ensure what has come to be an annual repayment rate of more than 99 percent through crowdfunding loans from alumni. Prodigy says this unique global credit model looks at applicants based on their projected earnings rather than their historical credit. This allows the providence to fund students without traditional stipulations like collateral or a cosigner or a guarantor.
While a near 100 percent annual repayment rate is certainly not easy to do—for a student from any market—more than 80 percent of the firm’s borrowers are of the community that has no alternative access to such financing. Prodigy also provides a unique opportunity for qualified investors, as well as alumni from the top schools, to help students attending their alma mater or who are from their home country, as an investment with potential financial return.
Prodigy Finance founder, Cameron Stevens, comments, “This investment will help us double the size of our student portfolio. We believe in financial inclusion and talent mobility, and look forward to continuing to help international students break the funding barrier and further their education at a top international university.”
He goes on to say, “We saw a market failure in international lending and have spent the last decade rectifying this problem. We’re excited about this investment as it will allow us to continue to grow and ensure there are no barriers to achieving academic potential.”