Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call click here.

Dr. Michelle He has already raised hundreds of millions of dollars for her 3.5-year-old fintech startup that is increasing access to credit and affordable loans, beyond just relying on credit scores. 

On the Dealmakers Show she talked about going from corporate to startup, the problems with credit scores and traditional lending, turning your disadvantages into advantages, fundraising, and more.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Turning Your Disadvantages Into Your Advantages

Dr. Michelle He was born and grew up in a small city in the center of China. A major industrial hub, with lots of manufacturing, steel, and automotive business. 

It was also a very competitive education environment. She loved math, and was expected to work hard and perform well in school. Which she did. Eventually graduating from one of China’s top engineering schools, then achieving her Ph.D. in machine learning and AI in Singapore. 

Although some may consider this a male dominated industry, Michelle says that she learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter what your gender is, or your race. What matters is your drive, what you believe, that you work hard, and are doing something meaningful. Which is what she most wants her six-year-old daughter to learn from her.

Michelle says that she also learned that you can turn your perceived disadvantages into advantages. 

Being an outsider in some respects can give you a unique perspective on things. Just as the challenges you face can also be the building blocks of doing something big, and impacting the lives of many others. 

She specifically found this when it came to getting credit. Having moved to the UK, in spite of having a solid job, with a strong and stable paycheck, she found that because she had no credit score there, she was unable to get even a small amount of credit. 

Eventually she would turn this, and her combination of open banking and AI experience into a startup.

See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Or Acquisition Efforts

  • Fundraising or Acquisition Process: get guidance from A to Z.
  • Materials: our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models.
  • Investor and Buyer Access: connect with the right investors or buyers for your business and close them.

Book a Call

The Problem With Credit Scores

Credit scores have been a national or regional thing. Meaning even if you have perfect credit in one country, if you move, you are starting from scratch, with no score or history, and appear to be a huge risk that no lenders want to take a bet on. If they do, it is only in the form of high cost loans. 

Secondly, the credit decision making tools that have been used by banks and lenders have been limited to mostly looking at credit scores. Which can be deeply flawed for many reasons, and are perhaps rarely a true indication of the prospective borrower’s willingness and ability to repay a loan. 

Michelle says that these tools often seem opaque and ambiguous in why they deny credit applications. 

So, together with a cofounder, she decided to do something about it. 

Both of them had worked in banking, but found it hard and long to create change from the inside. Stepping outside of that framework to wield change and innovation from the outside in the form of a startup was really the only way to do it. 

Abound & Render

Together Michelle and her cofounder Gerald, who had experienced similar challenges ultimately decided to take the leap in launching their own revolutionary solution. 

Though, today some of Michelle He’s top advice for other aspiring founders is to get started earlier. Don’t take years to quit your job to do it. What you will learn as you jump in and just do it will be so immense and increase the velocity at which you grow personally and as a business person. 

Their startup combines two business models. One being direct to consumer lending under the Abound brand. They use customers’ real-time bank transaction information, and artificial intelligence, including Large Language Models like the ones used by ChatGPT to extract signals, strip away the noise,  and identify if the customer can really afford to pay back the loan, or not. All regardless of whether the applicant is new to the country or not. 

Their second line of business is Render. Which provides their SaaS technology to other banks and lenders globally. Render is a proven technology and first used by Abound, achieving 70% reduction in bad debt compared to the market. Render helps other financial institutions to provide more affordable loans to their customers. All working to achieve their mission of creating more inclusivity and access to affordable loans. 

The company has been growing quickly, more than doubling their headcounts in the past 12 months alone. Today, they have a team of around 55 people. Half of whom are full time engineers. 

They’ve also raised $700M in debt and equity for the mission. Ranging from early friends and family funding to institutional financing. 

Storytelling is everything which is something that Michelle He was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

The Advantages Of Working Remotely

Michelle and Gerald launched their venture right around the time COVID lockdowns came along. 

While many have struggled with adapting to the new norm of distributed workforces and remote work, Michelle has found advantages too. 

They began working from a flat in the UK. Finding that it provided a lot more focus and productivity, than her previous experience of big corporate inefficiencies. 

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • The disadvantages of fundraising when you come from a corporate background
  • The stages of fundraising
  • The future of credit and lending


Facebook Comments

Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

Book a Call

Swipe Up To Get More Funding!


Want To Raise Millions?

Get the FREE bundle used by over 160,000 entrepreneurs showing you exactly what you need to do to get more funding.

We will address your fundraising challenges, investor appeal, and market opportunities.