An Indian American-led company based out of San Francisco, California, Stilt provides financial support for immigrants and the underserved.
Founded in 2015 by Rohit Mittal and Priyank Singh, Stilt is a mission-driven fintech company focused on providing credit to immigrants and the underserved. The company builds products to improve financial inclusion and democratize access to the credit.
Mittal explained in an interview with India-West that both he and Singh faced challenges with accessing quality credit when they moved to the U.S. as international students.
Mittal, the chief executive officer of Stilt, said he had to sleep on a Columbia alum's couch for weeks because it was so difficult to rent an apartment without a credit profile.
Singh, the company’s chief technology officer who faced his own challenges when he moved to Seattle, Washington, for his first job at Microsoft, was the only one who offered a room in his apartment to Mittal and that's how the founders met, Mittal explained.
In the leadup to launching Stilt, Mittal said he was working as a data scientist at Popsugar and Singh had moved for a new job at Amazon in Palo Alto. They reconnected and worked on multiple side projects in their spare time after work on weekdays and weekends, the co-founder explained.
One of the ideas let to the formation of Stilt.
“We saw a real need in the market and also won a couple of startup competitions, which made us decide to work on it seriously,” Mittal told India-West.
Stilt officially registered the company in the fall of 2015. They went through Y Combinator in the winter of 2016.
Stilt's mission is to build modern banking for immigrants. Its target market is all the immigrants and visa holders who are currently underserved by financial institutions, including people on H-1B, F-1, TN, J-1, L-1, H-4, DACA and other types of statuses, Mittal said.
Since its inception, Stilt, which offers banking and credit products through its website, has grown to serve customers from 17 states. They plan to launch nationally this year.
“We have helped tens of thousands of immigrants from 150 different countries. There are innumerable success stories of our customers building a strong financial life in the U.S. with of Stilt loans,” Mittal elaborated, then went on to cite an example.
“A teacher, originally from Cuba, at a school in New York used a loan from Stilt to file for her Green Card,” Mittal told India-West. “She had an income, she was financially responsible, and even paying taxes but she didn't have enough savings to pay the lawyer and government fee. Her visa was ending and she really needed financial help to file for her Green Card. Now she continues to live in New York and has built a life because of Stilt's loan,” he said.
Mittal says Stilt, which has raised $7.5 million in equity funding to date, as well as $100 million in debt facilities, is growing really fast in terms of customers and the products it offers.
“Recently, we offered checking accounts (even people without SSN can open an account) and added features such as remittance, build credit, instant loan transfer, and many others,” Mittal explained.
The CEO believes 2021 is a big year for Stilt as the company scales its products and raises funding to serve hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
“Stilt is one of the leading players serving immigrants in the U.S. The company has now built a platform for financial services for immigrants,” he stressed.