fulfin, the leading provider of flexible financing solutions for digital economy SMEs announces over €4m of its R&D effort in the field of “AI-enabled objective real-time credit scoring of SMEs” has been officially recognized by the Federal Government of Germany, for which the company will receive a research grant of €1.1m.
The fintech will also receive the BSFZ Red Seal from the Certifying Authority of Research Grants (BSFZ) recognizing the groundbreaking nature of the in-house product innovation within the space of AI-enabled credit scoring
fulfin was founded in 2018 by Nathan Evans and Dr Alfred Gruber to radically improve outcomes for SMEs in the credit application process. Samarth Mehrotra, Head of Data Science & AI joined in 2019 and since then the company has been a pioneer in the field of data-driven underwriting. fulfin has continuously leveraged the opportunities created by regulatory mandated open banking and the latest developments in data science, employing AI models and statistical methods such as NLP, LLMs, Tree-based ML modelling and SHAP values throughout the underwriting process. The result of fulfin’s significant investment in an AI-driven scoring approach is its proprietary lending platform, which enables lending decisions to be made nearly instantly & without human bias.
Due to the manually intensive nature of underwriting in legacy banks and alternative lenders, factors such as age, type of business, geo-location, etc. often still have a weakly justified negative impact on the outcome of credit decisions. fulfin’s AI-driven debt-capacity calculation algorithm is based on transactional banking data, and does not factor-in any such variables that could prove to be potentially discriminatory – thereby enabling more inclusive lending. This helps remove any human biases that might be baked into the traditional banking processes. fulfin uses SHAP values to ensure that decisions made by the AI models are explainable and can be attributed to specific financial KPIs.
Samarth Mehrotra, Head of Data & AI at fulfin, emphasises,
“Credit decisions are often made by lenders on the basis of a “probability of default” (PD). These PD values are typically sourced from credit bureaus and are often biased against young high-growth companies since they rely on static data sources such as financial statements. fulfin challenges the status quo via the development of a decision engine that utilises real-time open-banking data.”
In traditional banking, loan applications can typically take a few days to weeks to be processed. This is largely due to the reliance on an expert risk manager to make a decision. fulfin’s data-driven approach enables loan decisions to be made nearly instantaneously. The role of an underwriter is changed from a “decision maker” to a “decision checker”, i.e. validating the output of the algorithm. This enables a large number of loan applications to be processed, thereby enabling low-cost loan origination for SMEs.
The €1.1 million grant and the BSFZ seal are an important milestone for fulfin. The company continues its mission to create impact by improving financing outcomes for SMEs and providing them with access to fast and flexible credit.