Courtney Bentley CEO Vizibiliti Insight Africa receiving Verizon Viva Tech 2018 award
Viva Tech is one of the largest technology conferences in the world attracting more than 66,000 people and over 200 speakers, including the CEO of Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and Uber, and some of the most respected brands in the world like LMVH, Verizon, and SoftBank Group to name a few.
Vizibiliti Insight, a startup that uses AI to help the commercial property sector pre-screen tenants and predict the chances of them defaulting, was selected and invited to present at Viva Tech after being shortlisted from over 110 applications for Verizon’s alternative credit scoring challenge.
It was named the overall winner for the Customer Experience Transformation through Digital challenge, winning the cash prize and an invitation to Verizon’s New York office to collaborate with the company. It also earns membership credits to Verizon’s Innovation Garage offices located all around the United States (US).
IT News Africa spoke to Courtney Bentley, CEO of Vizibiliti Insight, who gave us more insight on this.
• Could you unpack Vizibiliti Insight and what your specialities are?
Vizibiliti Insight Africa is a specialist Artificial Intelligence financial technology company. We create alternative credit scoring solutions blended with traditional credit scorecards enabling any credit lender to analyse an individual or business and determine their creditworthiness.
Our alternative credit scoring solution is able to predict shopper preferences which enable lenders to personalise their products and services appropriately for a particular customer segment.
Current credit worthiness models and techniques don’t account for a non-traditional customer audience who may not have extensive credit histories with current bureaus. This means a significant portion of the global population is excluded from financial services.
Our ultimate goal is to assist individuals and businesses who wouldn’t have been considered for any form of credit the opportunity to be included in the financial services sector to grow their businesses, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth around the world.
• What was it like standing out and winning at one of the largest technology conferences in the world?
The fact that we were selected out of over 110 application from over 30 countries showed us that conglomerates have faith our business which is very rewarding.
We had very strong competitors with millions of dollars in funding and being a self-funded business was further validation that an African Fintech business can compete on a global level.
• What are your data security policies?
Data integrity is at the top of our minds. We have incorporated the latest GDPR and POPI regulations into our models and strategies ensuring we are compliant within a global context.
We apply the highest levels of enterprise security to any data handling process and ensure we are continually aligning with our customer security policies.
• How does your AI impact important customer metrics?
Our alternative credit scoring solution has a significant impact for both the credit lender and the borrower.
For the lender the key metrics include opening a significant portion of the population they would not have had access to due to archaic credit scoring methods. Another is an increase in sales with a low risk of default. This is also an opportunity for lenders to really understand what a customer wants and needs equipping them with the intelligence to create new dynamic products and services future-proofing their business.
For the borrower the impact is massive. An individual or business that would not have had access to credit now can. This is where we can provide the opportunity to grow their business, employ a new employee, and contribute toward stimulating the economy.
In any country around the world these principals ring true, and we want to be the world leader in alternative credit scoring for the unbanked
• Do you think there is growth for AI startups in Africa?
Definitely. We have had the first-hand experience that global companies have confidence and faith in us to achieve our goals to develop in Africa and transplant to the rest of the world.
However, one of the major challenges startup’s face in South Africa is a lack of funding. We have noticed other countries are far more supportive of young businesses whereas, the SA investor market is quite risk-averse.
This makes sustaining a business tough in a hostile environment. Looking at it from a different perspective one could say if you are able to survive, you have a business which is robust and means something to the world.
• Will AI replace humans?
I don’t believe so. There will, of course, be industries where automation and AI will have a job cutting impact, however, I also believe it will create new jobs. Technology has democratised and demonetised the access to building and becoming part of the new economy in a revolutionary way.
• What are Vizibiliti’s future plans?
We will be expanding our alternative credit scoring solutions across many new sectors and will be focusing on global expansion over the next 18 months.
We believe Asia, Africa and the US are markets that are ready for solutions like ours, however, things change quickly so we may end up in a market we didn’t previously consider!
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