The San Mateo based company — previously branded Mines.io — provides AI driven products to large firms so those companies can extend credit to underbanked consumers in viable ways.
That generally means making lending services to low-income populations in emerging markets profitable for big corporates, where they previously were not.
Founded in 2013, Migo launched in Nigeria, where the startup now counts fintech unicorn Interswitch and Africa’s largest telecom, MTN, among its clients.
Offering its branded products through partner channels, Migo has originated over 3 million loans to over 1 million customers in Nigeria since 2017, according to company stats.
“The global social inequality challenge is driven by a lack of access to credit. If you look at the middle class in developed countries, it is largely built on access to credit,” Migo founder and CEO Ekechi Nwokah told TechCrunch.
“What we are trying to do is to make prosperity available to all by reinventing the way people access and use credit,” he explained.
Migo does this through its cloud-based, data-driven platform to help banks, companies, and telcos make credit decisions around populations they previously may have bypassed.
These entities integrate Migo’s API into their apps to offer these overlooked market segments digital accounts and lines of credit, Nwokah explained.
“Many people are trying to do this with small micro-loans. That’s the first place you understand risk, but we’re developing into point of sale solutions,” he said.
Migo’s client consumers can access their credit-lines and make payments by entering a merchant phone number on their phone (via USSD) and then clicking on “Pay with Migo”. Migo can also be set up for use with QR codes, according to Nwokah.
He believes structural factors in frontier and emerging markets make it difficult for large institutions to serve people without traditional credit profiles.
“What makes it hard for the banks is its just too expensive,” he said of establishing the infrastructure, technology, and staff to serve these market segments.
Nwokah sees similarities in unbanked and underbanked populations across the world, including Brazil and African countries such as Nigeria.
“Statistically, the number of people without credit in Nigeria is about 90 million people and its about 100 million adults that don’t have access to credit in Brazil. The countries are roughly the same size and the problem is roughly the same,” he said.