Lendbuzz CEO Amitay Kalmar spoke with Bianca Chan at The Auto Finance Roadmap Podcast about why he and Dan Raviv started Lendbuzz, our non-traditional lending approach, and what’s next for Lendbuzz.

Lendbuzz grew loan origination more than 300 percent year-over-year providing car financing for consumers with limited U.S. credit history using machine learning algorithms. Here are the details on our raise. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190715005199/en/Lendbuzz-Secures-150-Million-Car-Financing-Platform

Lendbuzz, a fintech company that aims to disrupt the existing car financing market using machine learning algorithms, announced today that it had secured an additional $150 million in debt and equity financing. The equity funding round was led by 83North with significant participation from existing investors. The debt funding was led by BHI, ConnectOne Bank, IDB Bank, Viola Credit, and a large insurance company. This raise follows a $30 million debt funding round that was completed only 12 months ago.

Lendbuzz’s financing model — powered by machine learning and proprietary algorithms — allows it to better assess the creditworthiness of consumers with limited U.S. credit history, who are underserved by traditional banks despite their potentially high credit worthiness. Operating within the auto lending space, the company partners with auto dealerships to offer customers attractive financing solutions. Lendbuzz’s unique solution helps consumers to obtain financing when purchasing a car which in turn also helps build their U.S. credit score. The company enables auto dealerships to close on additional business opportunities which otherwise would have been lost and serve a more diversified client base. In 2018, Lendbuzz’s loan origination grew 320 percent, and the company increased its dealership network across the country to include key markets, such as California and Florida.

According to various estimates, more than 43 million foreign born nationals live in the U.S., of which 27 million are working professionals. Lendbuzz taps into this large market, providing credit solutions for customers with solid financial backgrounds who find themselves without proper credit solutions.

Amitay Kalmar, co-founder and CEO of Lendbuzz: “This is a significant step forward for Lendbuzz. The capital will allow us to further accelerate our fast-growing car financing platform and enhance our ability to provide the best terms to borrowers that do not have an established U.S. credit history.”

Dr. Dan Raviv, co-founder and CTO of Lendbuzz added: “We developed a unique underwriting platform based on alternative data points to evaluate credit risk. Our AutoML Deep Neural Network (DNN) system is continuously improving and allows us to evaluate the true credit risk for people with a limited credit file or missing FICO score.”

“After backing some of the world’s leading fintech companies, we are very excited to join Lendbuzz and support their ambitious growth plans,” said Arnon Dinur, Partner at 83North. “Lendbuzz is addressing a large and underserved market, has innovative technological underwriting capabilities and unique customer acquisition strategy that supports their high growth.”

BHI started its banking relationship with Lendbuzz in 2018 and is excited to continue to support the company’s growth into an influential fintech company,” said Gabriel Hamani, Chief Executive Officer of BHI. “The technology sector is core to BHI’s expansion strategy in the U.S., and we understand the complexities of the tech ecosystem. We’re committed to providing tailored banking solutions and an innovative suite of products to entrepreneurs within the tech sector.”

About Lendbuzz

Founded in 2015, Lendbuzz is a car financing platform that helps consumers with limited U.S. credit history to obtain financing for their car purchase. Driven by machine learning and statistical algorithms, Lendbuzz offers attractive terms to consumers that are overlooked and underserved by the traditional credit system. Once qualified, Lendbuzz customers can purchase their car from any auto dealership and build their U.S. credit history.

For more information on how Lendbuzz is transforming car financing for thin file borrowers visit www.lendbuzz.com.

About BHI

BHI, the U.S. division of Bank Hapoalim Group, provides commercial banking solutions to Middle Market clients in sectors such as: commercial real estate; C&I: commodities; entertainment; apparel; healthcare and hi-tech. BHI-Tech was established to serve the bank’s growing Hi-Tech customer base. This dedicated group primarily focuses on start-ups and growth companies within the U.S. and Israel markets. Its mission is to provide expertise in navigating the start-up culture, customized solutions and products, and foster long-term growth opportunities.

In addition to its New York headquarters, the bank operates four Representative Offices in the United States: Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey; Aventura, Florida; and two in California (downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills). For further information about BHI, please visit www.bhiusa.com.

BHI is a registered service mark of Bank Hapoalim B.M.

About ConnectOne Bank

ConnectOne Bank is a full service commercial bank serving the New York and New Jersey markets. Founded in 2005 by local business leaders, today ConnectOne Bank offers a full suite of consumer, business and cash management products across its 29 bank offices as well as through digital channels. From backing self-starters to financing the drivers of the economy, ConnectOne Bank works to prove that putting people first is a better way to do business.

About IDB Bank

ConnectOne Bank is a full service commercial bank serving the New York and New Jersey markets. Founded in 2005 by local business leaders, today ConnectOne Bank offers a full suite of consumer, business and cash management products across its 29 bank offices as well as through digital channels. From backing self-starters to financing the drivers of the economy, ConnectOne Bank works to prove that putting people first is a better way to do business.

About IDB Bank

IDB Bank® is a New York State-chartered commercial bank, a member of the FDIC, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel Discount Bank LTD., one of Israel’s leading banks. In addition to its Manhattan headquarters and branch offices in Brooklyn, N.Y., Staten Island, N.Y. and Short Hills, N.J., the Bank maintains other full-service branches in South Florida and Southern California. The Bank provides a complete range of private banking and commercial banking services to U.S. and international clients.

For 70 years IDB Bank has built its business by fostering deep relationships with its clients, rapid decision-making, and the ability to develop custom-tailored solutions for both its domestic and international clientele.

To learn more about IDB Bank visit www.idbny.com.  

IDB Bank is a registered service mark of Israel Discount Bank of New York. MEMBER FDIC

About Viola Credit

Viola Credit is Israel’s leading private credit fund offering multi-strategy credit products to growing companies globally. The fund provides cutting-edge, custom credit solutions to technology-focused companies, through several main investment strategies including Alternative Lending, Venture Lending, Mezzanine and Distressed Assets Financing. Since 2000, Viola Credit has successfully completed over 130 transactions and committed over $900 million. Viola Credit is part of Viola group, Israel’s leading technology oriented investment group with over $2.8B assets under management. For further information on Viola Credit, please visit www.violacredit.com

Lendbuzz Bloomberg Business interviews Car Loans Startup

Our Lendbuzz CEO and co-founder Amitay Kalmar recently sat down to speak on Bloomberg’s Baystate Business Hour talk show. Amitay spoke with Bloomberg about Lendbuzz’s origin and how we’re helping internationals get the cars they need in the US. You can listen to the full Lendbuzz Bloomberg interview and see the redacted transcript below.

Source: Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour


Peter Barns, Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour: Fintech is big in Boston. Here’s a company doing it: Lendbuzz. It offers car loans online mainly for foreign nationals in the US with what they call “thin credit.” And it’s not what you think. Lendbuzz just landed another $30 million in venture funding. Bringing total funds raised to $45 million. Joining us now with more on the company is co-founder and CEO Amitay Kalmar. And, Amitay, start first with telling us what “thing credit” is.

Amitay Kalmar, Lendbuzz CEO: So thin credit basically means that the person doesn’t have a credit file in the US. Or his credit file is not well developed or not deep enough for traditional banks to evaluate.

PB: And that’s probably the case with a lot of foreign nationals who come here to work. They might have their banking back home in their home country. And so you saw a market for helping them get car loans.

AK: Correct. These individuals are people that are well educated. They have great employment history back home, great earning potential in the US. But they come here and they do not have a credit file here in the US. Therefore their access to credit here is very challenging. So we focus on alternative data to evaluate their creditworthiness. So we can provide them with financing and basically get them a nice new car.

PB: Give us some more details on that, Amitay. You gather more information on these people and then you put together what amounts to a new credit history so you can then feel safe about lending them money?

AK: Correct. So instead of evaluating their credit history in the US, which is what most traditional banks do, we evaluate alternative data like their: educational background back home, their employment history back home, their financial profile both in their origin country and the US, their social profile. So we can evaluate their creditworthiness and therefore extend them credit.

PB: So that sounds like more work. That sounds like you’re going to have to charge them more for the insurance.

AK: What we try to do is be very competitive with traditional banks. Obviously, we’re going to be a bit more expensive. But it’s not going to be significantly more expensive. Our rates start at 4.9 and go up from there. It is more expensive that getting a car loan from Bank of America, for example, but not much more than that.

PB: We’re talking to Amitay Kalmar, co-founder and CEO of Lendbuzz. Which is doing online car loans for foreign nationals with what they call “thin credit” which means not much of a credit history here. So tell us about business. How many loans have you made? How many customers do you have?

AK: We funded over $25 million so far. And it’s been growing.

PB: Since 2015?

AK: We actually started extending loans on the end of 2016. So we co-founded the company end of 2015. It required a lot of development effort before we started originating loans. Most of the algorithms were built in the first year. And we keep improving and iterating on the models, actually every week. Every week we release a new set of algorithms for improving our existing algorithms. Growth has been great. We started here in Massachusetts, in the Boston area where the company is based. And both myself and Dan, my co-founder, are based. And now we’re extending to other states including California, Flori da, New York, New Jersey.

PB: Do you have competition?

AK: We don’t have much competition. Our competition is either subprime lenders who don’t take into account credit history as the major factor for underwriting but their rates are extremely high. And then a lot of people buy with cash today. Cash is always a competition to financing. But not a lot of companies do what we do.

PB: And just to clarify, you’re doing the marketing and customer acquisition piece of this, then you work with banks to provide the loans?

AK: So banks basically back us. We get the credit lines. We’re still the direct lenders. We actually still own the risk.

PB: What’s your loss ratio? If you’re using this to find people with good credit, is your loss ratio better or worse than commercial banks? Are you a bank?

AK: We’re not a bank. We’re not a depository institution. We’re an alternative lender. You see more and more of these online lenders like us, the very large ones like SoFi that focus on student loans but both them and US are not banks. We’re online lenders or alternative lenders.

PB: And your losses?

AK: Our losses are extremely low. They’re comparable to people with FICO of 750+. So that would be very good credit.

PB: Co-founder and CEO of Lendbuzz Amitay Kalmar. Thanks for coming in. Fascinating story.


We want to thank the Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour for having our CEO over for an interview.


Are you new to the US? Need a car loan? Lendbuzz can help you purchase the car you need. We offer competitive rates for international students, professionals, and expats. No credit score, social security number or co-signer needed. We help you through every step of the way. From applying from your home country to picking the right car for you. Apply online in minutes and get your rates today.