For turning mobile phone payments into credit histories
Nicole Van Der Tuin is the cofounder and CEO of financial technology company First Access, which uses mobile phone payments as a stand-in for traditional financial records, providing credit risk scores for loan applicants in emerging economies—usually their first-ever credit evaluation. As of 2016, First Access has analyzed more than 50 billion mobile phone transactions and has helped reduce the lending costs for banks to evaluate borrowers by 65%. The U.S.-based company recently began expanding from its Tanzanian subsidiary; in 2016, it will operate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia.
Van Der Tuin founded the startup in 2011, but it’s not her first foray into the microlending industry: She previously helped design and launch Paris-based MicroWorld, which offers peer-to-peer microlending opportunities, and she’s contributed research on private equity, venture capital, and microlending in emerging markets to a range of organizations and businesses.