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  • Fiat Ventures

Portfolio Spotlight: StellarFi

At Fiat Ventures, we recognize that we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the incredible founders we back. Our capital helps seed the idea, but it’s truly the founders' tenacity, creativity and grit that bring these visions to life.  We’re grateful to be a small part of their stories.

We’re fortunate to work closely with founders beyond just providing an investment.  We also offer hands-on consulting, operating support and a deep network of advisors from the market’s leading growth consultancy, Fiat Growth and our marketplace of 150+ advisors, Fiat Advisors.

This month we’re shining the spotlight on one of our fastest growing portfolio companies who continue to demonstrate that it’s possible to do good and perform well  - StellarFi.  We’ve been fortunate to have worked closely with the founding team since the very inception of the company providing advising services from Fiat Growth and multiple investments from Fiat Ventures.

Introducing StellarFi

StellarFi is a fast growing fintech that allows consumers to build credit with every bill they pay.  By connecting your bills, the company is able to pay these bills on behalf of their users while helping them report these positive attributes to the major credit bureaus. This helps account for factors that make up 80% of a positive credit score like the age of credit, credit use, and on-time payments. 

The emergence of alternative lending structures to allow consumers to better borrow and improve their credit score is a rapidly growing theme across financial services.  StellarFi is at the forefront of that change. 

Early fintechs like Credit Karma were pioneers in allowing consumers to have more visibility into their credit profile and factors that impacted that score.  Despite the positive impact that their product had for millions of consumers, credit remains a big problem today.  Over 28 million Americans have no mainstream credit file at the credit bureaus and are considered credit invisible.  An additional 21 million Americans are considered unscorable, and a final 57 million Americans have scores that classify them as subprime.

By providing a modern fintech solution, StellarFi helps both consolidate monthly bill payments, and has an almost immediate impact on their credit score.  Most members grow their credit scores in as little as 30 days, and those that pay their bills through StellarFi have seen their credit score grow by 80 pts.*

Members' reported credit limit also grows after bill payments are made successfully, making it a unique product that can truly support anyone in building their credit. A higher reported limit with low credit utilization can dramatically improve a low credit score quickly.

StellarFi’s product isn’t restricted to particular financial or demographic populations, and can support anyone 18 years or older in the United States.  As long as a user pays bills, they can help you pay them on time and build your credit score.  This is a perfect example of how fintech solutions can do good and do well.

Fiat Ventures first invested in StellarFi in their Seed financing round, and has participated in every subsequent round since.  Fiat Growth, our market leading growth consultancy, has also worked closely with the StellarFi team since the very founding of the company helping support their initial GTM strategy, product launch and growth efforts since. They have additional backing from Acrew Capital, ATX Ventures, Trust Ventures, Vera Equity, Gaingels, and other notable investors.

Why We Invested In StellarFi

As we often say, ideas are important but the most critical factor toward a startup’s success is the founders who are able to bring these visions to life. 

Lamine Zarrad, StellarFi’s Founder & CEO, is an incredible example of excellent founder-market-fit, deep industry expertise, and a passion and grit to bring his vision to life. 

Lamine Zarrad, StellarFi’s Founder & CEO
Lamine Zarrad, StellarFi’s Founder & CEO

Prior to founding StellarFi, Lamine has been a serial entrepreneur in the Fintech space.  He was the Co-Founder and CEO at Joust which he successfully sold to Austin-based company, ZenBusiness in 2020.  While at ZenBusiness, Lamine led product development helping the company scale from Series B to becoming one of Austin’s first Unicorns with a valuation of over $1.6B.  While he was able to have a significant impact on these businesses, he realized that they weren’t solving the root of the financial problem for most consumers. 

After building a few FinTech companies, I realized that credit and bills were the crux of a lot of people's financial problems. I also knew the credit paradox, that people have to have credit to build credit, often makes financial success inequitable and unattainable. That's where the idea of StellarFi came from – a financial tool that helps pay bills on time and builds credit.

Lamine is also an immigrant to the US, and his journey from the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States as a refugee is a testament to the American dream. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and a veteran of both the Marines and the US Army’s elite Long Range Surveillance unit, he embodies resilience and determination. Now a fintech founder, Lamine is inspired by his experiences, aiming to redefine entrepreneurship with inclusivity and empowerment at its core.

Keeping Track of StellarFi

Since closing their Series A fundraising round, StellarFi continues to roll out their product direct to consumers and through several high volume partnerships.  Lamine shares that “we work with a lot of great companies to support their users build their credit score and manage their bills. If you're interested in partnering, just reach out.”

You can keep track of the great work via the company’s LinkedIn and blog

*Potential increase based on StellarFi member data. StellarFi members observed an average of 80 points VantageScore® 3.0 increase during a member’s lifetime. Score increase based on members with an incoming score range of 300-499 pts, who made regular on-time payments, with regular on-time payments. Results may vary.


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