UK-based fintech start-up Koyo has closed its $50m in Series A debt and equity funding round led by Force Over Mass.

The round saw participation from existing investors Forward Partners, Frontline Ventures and Seedcamp along with new investors Matt Robinson, founder of GoCardless, co-founder of Nested, and other angel investors.

Koyo’s offering is aimed at the ‘thin file’ or ‘near prime’ customers who have little or no credit history.

It leverages open banking data to assess how customers spend money and offer loans to borrowers with low creditworthiness.

The ‘near prime’ market is said to have 13-15 million people in the UK.

Founded in 2018 by Thomas Olszewski, Koyo was launched to borrowers in 2020.

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Koyo raised $4.9m in 2019 from Forward Partners, Seedcamp, ComplyAdvantage founder and CEO Charlie Delingpole and LendInvest founder and CEO Christian Faes.

“Koyo launched at the start of the pandemic and has proven that innovative use of open banking data results in better risk decisioning and ultimately has enabled us to grow the business during one of the toughest economic times the UK has faced. I’m proud to have continued to give many people in the UK access to competitively priced credit, during a time where most traditional lenders were quick to scale back their lending,” TechCrunch quoted Olszewski as saying.

Force Over Mass partner Filip Coen said: “We invest in companies that combine transformational technology with strong business models, and Koyo indexed strongly in both of those departments. Koyo has built a first-class foundation over the last 18 months of operation, and we’re excited to be part of its future.”