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  • Mike Armstrong

Investing in the Future of Credit



Shawn and I started Ensemblex just over three years ago to help companies start, scale, and improve their credit products. Today, companies around the world partner with Ensemblex to develop game-changing products, expand into new markets, and safely lend billions of dollars to customers. It’s been quite a journey.

One thing is clear: Interest in hands-on, expert credit advice goes well beyond what Shawn and I expected when we were starting out. With that in mind, we’ve been making investments to support our clients’ continuing growth, including expanding the team, adding new capabilities, and more.

As we think about the future of credit, there are really three themes that have influenced the investments we are making.

1. Rapid innovation in emerging credit markets.

A growing number of our clients operate in markets where credit isn’t widely available, including Brazil, Mexico, and India.

Low credit availability is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re marketing to a population that doesn’t already have a wallet full of cards. On the other hand, you don’t have access to a lot of the infrastructure and guardrails that exist in more developed credit markets.

In other words, acquisition costs are lower, but the cost of learning is potentially much, much higher. That’s where Ensemblex has been able to help. We’ve deployed some of the same tools that Shawn and I used to manage sophisticated, large-scale credit operations at CapitalOne.

These tools, along with the establishment of a robust analytic culture, have allowed startups to accelerate their growth strategies — adding new customers, new revenue, and new profits — while reducing the risk and learning costs associated with new credit markets.

2. The continuous evolution of credit products.

How many credit products are there? It depends on how you count, I guess. When you look at the product landscape through the eyes of a credit expert, there aren’t that many — cards, lines, and loans of varying types and lengths. That’s about it.

But when you read the news, you see something completely different. Founders are combining old products with new technologies, targeting poorly served segments, and building hyper-growth companies. When I look at the product landscape this way — through the eyes of founders and innovators — the opportunities are endless.

That’s why we’ve expanded the team here at Ensemblex to include experts who can help founders with everything they need to get a new product off the ground, including setting up bank partnerships, selecting technology partners, acquiring and servicing customers, and much more.

Startups use our experience to get to market faster, along with all of the tools, services, and experience they’ll need to build a thriving business.

3. The next generation of talent.

All of this innovation has attracted a new generation of talent — sharp, skilled professionals who are interested in building the future of credit.

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with brilliant leaders and founders around the world, who are taking on massive opportunities in their local markets. Partnering with these founders has been one of the highlights of my career.

At Ensemblex, we are increasingly working with clients to put together teams and talent to build novel products, profitable businesses, and engines for economic growth. If you’re looking for a partner to develop a new idea or enter a new market, we’d love to talk. Likewise, if you’re looking for something new and have the right experience, we’d love the opportunity to connect you with one of our portfolio companies.

I should note here that Ensemblex is hiring as well. We are always on the lookout for proven experts who would like the opportunity to develop a global view of credit, partnering with founders and innovators to launch new products and develop new businesses.

We’ll have much more to share with you all in the coming months. Until then, if there’s anything that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Shawn or myself.