Meet the Fellows: Adrian and Ben, NestEgg

There’s just a few weeks to go until Lab Fellowship 2019 draws to a close. While our Fellows practice their pitches ahead of our Demo Day event on September 19, you can learn all about how they are transforming the financial system for the better in our Meet the Fellows series.

Adrian Davies and Ben Breen are co-founders with very different past trajectories. After starting to work in money advice in the late 1990s, Adrian has spent the majority of his career setting up and supporting credit unions across England including in Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool. Ben’s professional experience has predominantly been in IT, including in investment banking. They are now combining their knowledge and expertise to join forces behind one shared mission – helping responsible lenders grow.

NestEgg is a software solution that makes it easy for individuals to apply for credit from responsible lenders, with both a B2B and B2C offering. For lenders, it offers an automated decision engine utilising both credit bureau and Open Banking data and a user-friendly interface that integrates smoothly with their website and back-office systems. This enables lenders to process and accept more loans and expand their membership.

NestEgg’s software is equally transformative for borrowers. It empowers consumers to build their own financial identity based on financial health indicators including borrowing, spending and planning. Borrowers are given transparency over where they score well, where they don’t, and how they can improve, for example by addressing missed payments, improving budgeting and setting aside money for saving. Risk-profiled consumers are then matched to responsible lenders. NestEgg’s research has shown that using a wider range of alternative data sources improves people’s credit profiles, resulting in higher acceptance rates.

In some cases, NestEgg’s software may highlight that credit is not appropriate. When this happens, consumers are supported to improve their overall financial health, including by opening savings accounts and through referral to money advice services. NestEgg are also exploring other insights that are emerging from the data – for example where gambling addiction or abuse of the elderly can be identified – and are working with lenders to use that information responsibly.

By supporting both borrowers and responsible lenders, the impact NestEgg could have is huge: £500 borrowed at a credit union rather than a doorstep lender costs borrowers £330 less. By enabling more people to access loans from credit unions and other responsible lenders, NestEgg aims to deliver £33m in savings to borrowers in the next 12 months. By driving more custom towards responsible lenders, and saving them money on administration and marketing costs, NestEgg keeps more money circulating locally and building resilience in regional economies.

NestEgg have already started working with their first customers and the results so far are fantastic. For example, a key challenge for the credit union sector is the rising average age of members. NestEgg has helped Central Liverpool Credit Union to reverse that trend: the average age of a new member fell from 42 to 35 after just four months of working with the software. Read a case study from Midlands-based Castle & Crystal Credit Union here.

Adrian and Ben had already built NestEgg’s Minimum Viable Product when they applied for Lab Fellowship. They joined the programme hoping to raise their profile, meet other entrepreneurs working to transform the financial system, make useful contacts and, above all, embed their purpose and mission into their growing business.  Ben comments:

“The value I was looking for lay in the mix of thoughtful mindsets and proven strategies to bring about transformational change to the financial system itself. Equally important was the value of being immersed with a diverse crowd of peers, third-party experts and Lab facilitators. My hopes were more than met on all fronts.”

So, how can the Lab community support NestEgg in their next steps? Adrian and Ben have some ideas…

“For us it’s about an exchange of ideas and collaboration. If the community as a whole is working to change the financial system for the better, then by working together we can be stronger, avoid overlap and support each other through partnerships. We’ve found loads of opportunities to work with other Fellows and help each other out and would love to continue this with the wider Lab community.”

Adrian and Ben are particularly keen to connect with money advice agencies, responsible lenders, researchers in the area of debt, credit and financial inclusion, and others in the Lab community who support NestEgg’s work to unlock more responsible credit for the people who need it most.

If that sounds like you, email to connect with NestEgg or request an invite for Demo Day. You can find out more about Lab Fellowship here.