- Oakam co-founder and former Google and Amazon product manager returns to accelerate Oakam’s digital expansion
LONDON, 4th October, 2018 – Oakam, a digital micro-lender for the underbanked, has appointed Rahim Nathwani as Chief Product Officer (CPO). Nathwani co-founded Oakam with CEO Frederic Nze in 2006, and is currently the company’s Head of Data Science. Nathwani will be responsible for scaling the company’s technology infrastructure to support domestic and international expansion.
“We started Oakam to help marginalised UK consumers access credit and improve their financial wellbeing. Through groundbreaking work in data analytics, digital underwriting and mobile product innovation, the team has found a way to broaden credit access to this group,” said Nathwani. “I’m excited to return to Oakam full-time to build an elegant technology solution for financially-excluded consumers on a global scale.”
In 2010, Nathwani relocated to China, leaving Oakam to gain exposure to the country’s burgeoning technology sector and, to improve his Mandarin. After a stint at a Beijing-based startup bank, he spent five years as a product manager for Amazon in Beijing, and Google in Shanghai.
“In the early days of Oakam, Rahim played a critical role in building our infrastructure, launching products and developing our first loan servicing system,” said Nze. “The experience, knowledge and disciplined approach he brings from the world leaders in technology will be invaluable as we enter the next phase of growth.”
Over the past decade, Oakam has worked to solve the complex problem of lending to consumers who don’t have the credit score or data footprint to borrow from banks. Alternative data and advanced underwriting models have allowed Oakam to accept these applicants. Oakam’s mobile app, which generates behavioural data used for new loans to existing customers, is also used to deliver ‘nudges’ and help customers optimise their financial decisions. Nathwani will be central to enhancing Oakam’s automated underwriting and expanding its digital product offerings in his new role.
Nathwani returned to Oakam as Head of Data Science in December 2017 and has already helped escalate the lender’s predictive risk modelling. Under his leadership, Oakam’s Data Science team has improved underwriting model performance through, among other things, the use of features derived from applicants’ responses to picture-based psychometric questions. Nathwani and his team will look to apply data analytics and predictive modelling across other areas of the business, including customer engagement and collections.
Prior to co-founding Oakam, Nathwani and Nze launched Euristix, a predictive analytics professional services firm providing credit risk and analytics to lenders, debt purchasers, private equity firms and funds, in 2005. The business was acquired by Capita, an international professional services company, in 2013.
“In addition to his deep expertise, Rahim brings an innate entrepreneurial spirit to Oakam that will be transformative in attracting like-minded individuals who want to join us in building technology to tackle financial exclusion in the mature and developing world,” said Nze.