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Press Release: Koyo Fund Raise

Written byPeter Kent
First published1st November 2019
  • Notes to Editors

Koyo raises $4.9m to launch online lending platform utilising Open Banking that will offer competitively priced loans to those new to credit, or new to the UK.

  • Koyo raises $4.9m in debt and equity funding 
  • The start-up will launch the UKs first Open Banking-powered consumer online lender
  • 6-8m people in the United Kingdom have thin or no credit, representing a multi-billion pound opportunity
  • Seasoned team lead by Founder & CEO Thomas Olszewski, Guy Evans (former CTO of LendInvest), and Kevin Allen (former CRO of Ratesetter)

Koyo has closed a funding round led by Forward Partners with participation from Seedcamp. Co-investors include Christian Faes (Founder & CEO of LendInvest), and Charlie Delingpole (Founder & CEO of ComplyAdvantage).

Access to low interest loans and credit cards is something most people take for granted. 

Having a respectable credit score, enables you to borrow cheaply and in turn further improves your credit record. 

But what happens if you didn’t have a credit history at all?

Lack of historical credit data is the number-one cause of a low (or no) credit score in the UK and therefore, expensive borrowing. In the UK, there are between 6-8m people who lack enough credible credit data to be considered for traditional borrowing options. Currently, those seeking borrowing would be charged excessive fees for credit that ultimately causes financial problems, rather than solves them. Koyo is looking to change all of that. 

When Koyo launches later this year it will be the only lender that requires all customers to complete an open banking process as part of the application. This enables Koyo to offer competitively priced credit, without the use of guarantors or hidden fees. Koyo is on a mission to provide loans that are personal and transparent, to those who have little or no options through no fault of their own. 

Thomas Olszewski, Koyo founder, said, “When I moved to the UK from the USA my credit history did not come with me. This made getting a credit card or loan difficult, if not impossible. I realised this is a problem that affected millions of people who are new to the country, but also people who have not built a credit history in the UK more generally. Koyo was built to give people who have historically been taken advantage of, an opportunity to access credit at a competitive rate and build credit history. The opportunity is further evidenced by a seasoned management team which includes Kevin Allen (former CRO of RateSetter) and Guy Evans (former CTO of LendInvest).”

Thomas was also quoted, “While Koyo is based in London, we have global ambitions. Our aim is to expand our product offering in the UK and explore other markets where thin file customers are underserved”. 


Notes to Editors

  • Koyo was founded in 2018, by Thomas Olszewski
  • Koyo will launch to borrowers in 2019
  • Koyo is backed by funds who also invested in Revolut, Transferwise and Zopa
  • Koyo is based in Soho, London
  • First personal lender to require Open Banking data for all customers
  • Koyo is a private company

CEO, Thomas Olszewski – former venture capitalist with Frontline Ventures in London and Cavalry Ventures in Berlin. Hedge Fund Trader Analyst at Verition Fund Management. Previously part of the global software development team at the Nasdaq stock exchange.

CTO, Guy Evans – previously CTO of LendInvest. Former CTO of Interactive Investor. Former CTO of BullionVault. Co-founder iJento.

Head of Credit Risk, Kevin Allen – first CRO of RateSetter. Credit and Product Director at Castlight. Credit and Fraud risk at Mastercard. Other positions in credit, fraud and risk management at Lloyds, Goldfish, FICO, PWC and Standard Chartered.

Head of Marketing, Peter Kent – previously Global Head of Digital Marketing Strategy at Investec Bank. Former marketing acquisition specialist at RateSetter. Advisor and consultant to LendingWorks and the MoneyPlatform.