ZestFinance, a Los Angeles, CA-based company that uses machine learning to transform vast amounts of complex data into credit scores, received a strategic investment from Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese language Internet search provider.
The amount of the deal was not disclosed.
The investment from Baidu will allow the company to expand into the Chinese credit market. Artificial intelligence experts and data scientists at both companies plan to work together to apply ZestFinance’s underwriting technology to Baidu’s search, location, and payment data in order to improve credit scoring decisions in China (where consumer credit data is generally unavailable).
Founded in 2009 by CEO Douglas Merrill and a team of former Google employees, ZestFinance applies its credit-decisioning technology platform — based on data science and machine learning — to allow lenders to predict credit risk so they can provide lower cost credit to people.
The company also uses its technology to provide online loans to consumers.