Atlanta-based Urjanet wants to help utilities go paperless, using a $14.65 million Series D raise announced this week to drive adoption of digital payments in a sector where most companies still use in-person collection or paper-based systems.
The 10-year-old company spun out of Advanced Technology Development Center has built a business out of aggregating and permissioning account data from upwards of 6,000 utilities across 47 countries.
Urjanet started as a way for companies to peer into energy data to manage sustainability programs and usage, but last year it began to delve more deeply into financial services through a partnership with Equifax, also based in Atlanta.
The deal allowed the credit information provider to access Urjanet telecom and utility data in order to use bills (with consumers’ permission) to gain a better picture of their creditworthiness.
This is especially useful in the developing world, where almost everyone has a mobile phone and an electric bill but few have bank accounts or credit cards to build a traditional credit score, Urjanet CEO Sanjoy Malik told Global Atlanta during a 2019 interview.
By contributing to the latest funding round with existing investors, Equifax is now helping Urjanet drive growth by deploying its new Utility Bill Capture for Payments product as companies seek contactless payment solutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equifax remains dedicated as well to using Urjanet’s alternative data, which improve consumers’ access to credit by allowing them to prove commercial activity. That’s especially important as the pandemic threatens a protracted downturn, according to Sid Singh, president of United States Information Solutions (USIS) at Equifax.
“Erasing the problem of thin credit files or credit invisibility requires businesses to understand that consumers are more than a credit score,” Mr. Singh said.
Learn more about Urjanet’s global operations in this Global Atlanta story:
Read more about the funding round here.