In 2006, Drs. Bailey Klinger and Asim Khwaja created the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab Research Initiative at the Harvard Center for International Development. This project set out to develop low-cost credit screening tools to help stimulate entrepreneurial finance in emerging markets by addressing information asymmetry.
In 2008, Asim and Bailey received a grant from Google.org and SNV Latin America to launch the EFL project. Over the next two years EFL worked with a network of financial institutions across Africa and Latin America as well as leading psychometric firms to assemble the prototype.
Growth & Success
In 2010, co-founder DJ DiDonna joined to create EFL as an independent, private, and for-profit organization. The company began developing tools to identify high-potential entrepreneurs.
In 2011, less than a year after launching, EFL won the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. After being recognized as one of the most innovative solutions to SME Finance in the world EFL earned a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, increasing its reach throughout Africa and Latin America.
In 2012, EFL entered the Asian market and won the African Business Award for Innovation.
In 2013, EFL and MasterCard announced a global partnership to promote small business growth in developing countries. The partnership provides international issuers in developing markets with new tools to help improve credit underwriting for unbanked small businesses.
In 2013, EFL also partnered with a leading Latin American retailer to launch psychometric credit scoring for consumers. Since then, EFL Psychometric Credit Scoring for Consumers has, amongst others, launched across Pichincha Bank in Ecuador and Edgar's Clothing Store in Zimbabwe.
Throughout 2014, EFL continued to expand its work across 4 continents while exploring credit scoring using alternative data beyond psychometrics and reaching a 100,000 application milestone over its 4 year history.
In 2015, EFL's reach tripled to 300,000 applications taken worldwide. USAID DIV awarded the company a $1.5 million grant for technology and platform innovations that will further enable EFL to reach rural and underserved borrowers.
Current & Future
By the end of 2015, EFL had enabled or optimized more than $1 billion to entrepreneurs and individuals around the world. EFL continues to improve its psychometric credit scoring capabilities while simultaneously innovating with new alternative data sources such as mobile phone usage data (via CDR), social network data (via Facebook & Twitter, for instance), and location data (via GPS and GIS). In addition to its existing online and tablet platforms, EFL has significantly increased its reach by expanding to mobile and SMS.