Wemimo Abbey works to close the racial wealth gap through his credit-building startup, Esusuwhich was designed to create equitable financial access for all.
Esusu raised $130m in venture capital at a $1bn valuation according to Forbes, making it one of the few black-owned tech startups to ever achieve “unicorn valuation.” Esusu captures rent payment data and reports it to major credit bureaus, allowing tenants to use their rent payment histories to improve their credit scores.
“No matter where you’re from or the color of your skin, your financial identity shouldn’t determine where you end up in the world’s wealthiest nation,” Wemimo told Forbes.
Wemimo has experience of being denied access to credit. Shortly after her family arrived in the United States in 2009, she was denied a bank loan. her mother had to pawn jewelry to cast her. He was also denied a loan to start his business, forcing Wemimo to slowly build Esusu from the ground up.
According to Esusu estimates, more than 45 million Americans have no credit history, which prevents them from obtaining a property, a vehicle and, in some cases, even a mobile phone. Wemimo said his company will help those with no credit by validating and reporting their rental payment history.
Typically, rental history and payments do not count towards a person’s credit score. Tenants will pay $50 to access the platform and interest-free loans for rental assistance if needed. Meanwhile, landlords will pay $3,500 for access to the platform and $2 per unit per month, which can help manage risk when renting a property. The platform currently has over two million rental units on its platform.
Black Americans still struggle to access credit today, and it’s usually not their fault. According to CNBCdecades of racial discrimination in finance and banking, gave black Americans and minorities a trauma-like response when seeking credit or other financial tools, including a bank account or credit card.
A investigation led by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that 60% of the time applicants of color who were more financially qualified for a loan than a white counterpart were still offered more expensive auto loans, costing them more than $2,600 over the course of the loan.