Vyze, which offers retailers a platform to connect with various lenders to increase credit approval, announced today funding of $13.1 million in a round led by Austin Ventures. New investor Fathom Capital and returning investor Starvest Partners also joined.
“50 percent of people who apply for credit at a store are declined,” said Vyze CEO Keith Nealon, in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat. “This creates a negative customer experience as they blame the retailer, not the lender.”
Through its API integration, the Austin, Texas-based startup connects retailers with multiple lenders, such as Dell Financial Services, Fortiva, and Zibby. “This ensures financing options for all consumer demographics,” said Nealon, “Including millennials and individuals with thin credit files.”
Customers can apply for credit or lending options at check-out — it usually takes 30 to 60 seconds for the system to determine whether they are eligible, according to Nealon.
Vyze claims to have 20 customers that include The Home Depot, Microsoft, and Nordic Track. The startup takes a percentage fee on each transaction from both the retailer and the lender.
Founded in 2008, the startup seems to be gradually picking up steam. Nealon was brought on as CEO a year and a half ago to develop an aggressive go-to-market strategy. The chief executive argues that these models of supply and demand are often faced with a chicken and egg challenge. “You need a list of lenders to propose to retailers, but you also need to partner with retailers to show lenders you have traction,” he said.
Regarding Austin Ventures’ status as a VC, which was questioned by some reports, general partner Chris Pacitti said, “Yes, Austin Ventures is still an active VC firm that supports more than 30 portfolio companies representing over $500 million at cost. However, we aren’t doing any new deals via AV; all of our current investments are follow-on.”
Vyze has raised a total of $48 million to date and will use the fresh injection of capital to increase sales and marketing and boost research and development.
The startup currently has 45 employees.