With the closing of the Noddle acquisition from TransUnion, Credit Karma co-founder Nichole Mustard will relocate to London to lead the development and expansion of the company in the UK.
Credit Karma plans to triple the size of its team there in the next year. Tearsheet asked Mustard about her move and plans for the UK.
What role does the U.K. play in Credit Karma’s expansion strategy?
There are a number of factors that go into our expansion strategy. With the majority of the U.K. population scored and financial institutions serving credit builders who want to achieve financial progress much in the same way as we do in America, the U.K. had a number of appealing characteristics that met our criteria. Like the U.S., the main credit bureaus in the U.K. are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each bureau has a unique and sophisticated model from which underwriters determine one’s access to both credit and pricing of credit-based products that consumers do not fully understand. Credit Karma seeks to bring the same level of access, education and resultant financial progress championed in the U.S. to the U.K. population.
Why buy versus build when it comes to growing in the U.K.?
For us, it always comes down to our mission of championing financial progress. We felt a kinship with Noddle: they were the first to offer free credit scores in the U.K., and they shared a similar member-first mission with Credit Karma. We saw an opportunity to bring our early stage know-how to the U.K. market, and help them scale in a meaningful way that aligns with our business in the U.S. We’re looking to build on the foundation the Noddle team built by tripling the U.K. staff, and continue to grow their member base, which represents over 8% of the U.K. population. Given Noddle’s established member base and alignment with our mission, we felt this was the right opportunity for us.
What advantage does moving a founder out to the U.K. play in your growth plans?
I’ve had the honor of being with Credit Karma since day one and have helped build our company to where it is today, with more than 85 million members. I identify first and foremost as a builder: I do best when I am incubating emerging business units and developing team members to own and lead. Over the last 10+ years I’ve served in various roles helping to grow and scale our business, and I look forward to getting back to my passion of building the Credit Karma brand, now in the U.K. market. As we scale internationally, it’s important that our budding U.K. team feels full support during this process.
What else are you looking to do in the U.K., product-wise?
Credit Karma will provide customers in the U.K. with one of the most advanced and personalized experiences in the market, including complete access to their credit history as well as truly free services to help monitor and build their credit. Most importantly, Credit Karma will provide members access to the financial products best suited for their financial situation. Key offerings will include a weekly refreshed credit score and a comprehensive suite of credit monitoring alerts. U.K. customers will also be made aware of free credit factors that provide an understanding of their score drivers to aid improvement. They’ll also have the ability to ‘shop’ for financial products on Credit Karma, including recommended credit cards for which they are likely to be approved.