NEW YORK, NY — November 19, 2014 — COGNICAL, the company behind Zibby, the fully-integrated lease-to-own payment option for online shopping, announced today it has raised more than $10 million in equity and debt financing to help e-retailers grow sales to nonprime and underbanked consumers.
The equity round was jointly led by Tribeca Venture Partners in New York and Blumberg Capital in San Francisco. Entrepreneur’s Roundtable Accelerator also participated. Debt financing was led by Metropolitan Equity Partners in New York.
“Metropolitan’s investment will allow Zibby to reach more e-retailers that are interested in incorporating lease-to-own payment options to substantially grow their sales,” said Paul Lisiak, Metropolitan’s Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer.
Cognical was founded at Cornell University in 2012 to apply advances in machine learning and nontraditional data to reduce the cost of credit to nonprime consumers. It has recently launched Zibby, the first fully-integrated lease-to-own monthly payment option for e-retailers’ shopping carts. To pay with Zibby, customers click the Zibby button at checkout, complete a simple two-minute application, and are approved in real time. FICO scores are not considered in the decision. Returning Zibby members checkout even faster.
“The nonprime consumer is a data problem, not a creditworthiness problem, and they are underserved in an online shopping environment built for the prime consumer with credit cards or cash in the bank,” said Brandon Wright, Cognical’s co-founder and Chief Executive. “46% of the US population has a FICO score below 700 and 34% of consumers between 18 and 49 years old don’t have a credit card.”
Zibby is focused on working with e-retailers of durable goods, such as electronics, furniture, appliances, and musical instruments. Approved customers get the option to make monthly payments or 90 days same-as-cash, and they can return the products at any time if they can’t make their monthly payments.
E-retailers featuring the Zibby payment option in December include appliance and furniture retailer Goedekers, as well as electronics retailers Focus Camera and Ritz Camera. Many others will offer Zibby to their customers early next year.
“Zibby is a win-win: e-retailers grow sales to a huge new customer base, and nonprime consumers can finally get the goods they need in an affordable and convenient way,” said Brian Hirsch, Managing Partner of Tribeca Venture Partners.
“Our goal is to use technology to grow access and reduce cost for consumers,” Wright added. “Every month that a customer makes a payment we expand their credit limit, and successful customers will be able to acquire goods at lower costs as we prove their creditworthiness.”
Cognical was founded at Cornell University in 2012 where the company’s co-founders, Brandon Wright, Chinedu Eleanya, and Andrew Hancox, collaborated to build its proprietary machine learning underwriting platform that uses big data to accurately assess the creditworthiness of nonprime consumers. Cognical’s core product, Zibby, is the fully-integrated lease-to-own payment option for online shopping. The company’s mission is to use technology to grow access and reduce the cost of product acquisition for nonprime and underbanked consumers.
ABOUT METROPOLITAN PARTNERS GROUP
Metropolitan Partners Group is a direct-lending fund manager that provides senior-secured, transitional capital to small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S. that have not had an institutional investor, are going through a period of growth and require additional capital in order to achieve scale. The firm provides short-term loans of $5 million to $25 million to fundamentally sound companies with a typical loan term of 12 to 36 months. Since its inception in 2008, Metropolitan has deployed more than $600 million of capital and completed over 60 investments with companies across several business sectors, including specialty finance, local infrastructure, telecom, heavy equipment, niche manufacturing and automation. To learn more, go to: https://www.metpg.com