ZestFinance Raises $20M

Los Angeles-based ZestFinance, a developer of "big data" based software tools for credit scoring and underwriting, has raised $20M in a financing round, led by Peter Thiel. The round also includes Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, Kensington Capital Holdings, and Eastward Capital Partners. As part of the funding, Thiel Capital, Peter Thiel's investment firm, will gain a board observer seat. ZestFinance was founded by former Google Chief Information Officer Doug Merrill along with former Capital Hone executive Shawn Budde. ZestFinance had previously been known as ZestCash, and had been looking to offer up short term loans to consumers; the company has since refocused instead of providing credit scoring tools to financial institutions. More information »