The Fintech Game-Changer

There are names who are shinning in the fintech space in India and abroad for, literally, dwindling fintech structures around the world, Rishi Khosla is one of them

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There are names who are shinning in the fintech space in India and abroad for, literally, dwindling fintech structures around the world. Rishi Khosla is one of them. The Indian-origin and British National is the co-founder of OakNorth Holdings.

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The man needs no introduction. He has been grabbing the eyeballs of business insiders ever since he became an advisor to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal for his equity and venture capital activities and then leading OakNorth Holdings, a unicorn-fintech bank in the Queen's land which is not just known for its billion-dollar-valuation, but also for being the quickest unicorn in the European history (within two years of launching operations) along with getting the third new banking license in the UK in 150 years.

Khosla is accredited with changing the SME lending system with a bent of technology. OakNorth offers loans to fast-growth UK businesses and established property developers and investors. The fintech arm of OakNorth Holdings is OakNorth Analytical Intelligence, the big data and machine learning platform they've designed to help with underwriting and monitoring. He says, "The platform works by collecting millions of data items on SMEs across various parameters, sectors, and markets, and uses machine learning algorithms to identify data that lenders need to make more informed credit decisions through detailed line item underwriting." He adds that his team, of credit analysts and data scientists, manages the process, training the machine learning algorithms, so that the platform continues to evolve and get smarter. "The platform therefore provides OakNorth Bank and its partners around the world with significant process efficiency gains, data-driven decision making, and smarter credit analysis and capabilities," he says.

OakNorth Holdings, having its headquarters in the UK, also has two offices in India, in Gurugram and Bangaluru.

In May 2016, OakNorth Bank became the first UK bank to be fully cloud-hosted after months of working with Amazon Web Services and the UK regulator to drive the development forward. On that Khosla further clarifies, "Being fully cloud-hosted gives us a number of benefits like flexibility, business continuity and seed plantation."

Last month, OakNorth Holdings closed a $440m investment round led by SoftBank's Vision Fund. There is room for a lot of expansion and for challenges to seep in but Khosla is of a kind who believes in the fact that "it's managing the challenges that come with extremely high growth."

According to its 2018 Annual Report, they made £33.9m profit last year with its total loan facilities growing by 160% to £2.2bn. They also have other numbers to boast-40,000 savings customers, having lent £3bn without a single default to date. "Our loans have directly helped with the creation of 12,000 new homes and 13,000 new jobs in the UK," he says.

OakNorth has rolled out an invitation for an exciting, roller-coaster ride for and in the fintech sector.

(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)