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Reflections on the past year, opportunities in the new year

ClearScore CEO and Co-Founder Justin Basini reflects on the highlights and challenges of the past year, and the exciting new opportunities and features coming in the new year

It’s around this time of the year that my thoughts turn to both the achievements and challenges of the past year and the opportunities of the upcoming brand new year.

There is no doubt that 2015 was a huge year for ClearScore, our team and me personally.

I am filled with gratitude: to the hundreds of thousands of people who chose to sign up with ClearScore and liberate their credit report data; to the team who made it happen creating a product and brand that truly we are proud of; to my board who supported us as we moved as fast as possible to market; and finally to my family and friends who see me disappear and reappear as the work ebbs and flows. And I’d like to thank our partners- from Equifax to Totally Money to Capella PR – we simply couldn’t have moved at the pace we have without these partnerships.

Launching a new business is never easy but if you get it right it is hugely fun. We have had our challenges: we are determined to work hard to ensure that everyone who couldn’t pass our secure ID validation process will have opportunities to try again with different approaches that might work for them – we want to see everyone get access to their credit report and score. We also need to balance this desire against fraud and security and we are also ensuring that a range of even more advanced anti-fraud and security measures are deployed on ClearScore.

We also know that at times our customer operations team have been overwhelmed with the response from the market which has led at times to frustrated customers and us taking longer than our target of 24 hours to get back to a customer. The Customer Ops team have pushed themselves hard to revise our processes and approaches and we are investing more in this area as the business grows.

Lastly we are pushing hard to get more products on the site. We know that this is a big thing our users want. Thousands have taken our recommended cards but we want to expand the product range into other types of products to meet this demand. Thank you if you did choose to take a product via ClearScore- it is this action that ensures the team can continue to do its work.

I am fizzing with excitement about 2016. We have a packed pipeline of new features and initiatives that will make the real mission of ClearScore emerge. Others play their game, we play ours. You will always be able to get free, forever access to your credit report and score through ClearScore but that is just the beginning not the end. Timeline will launch in early 2016 – we are testing at the moment – and will be a completely new way to see your credit report data. Innovations like this are just the tip of the iceberg.

Finally, a word about what is at the heart of ClearScore – and that’s love. We put a little line under our logo at the bottom of some of our pages which says “handcrafted with ♥ in London”. This isn’t just a pat phrase copied from the west coast of the US. To me, and I think increasingly to the team, it means something important.

Winning in business, especially competitive markets like ours, is not like winning a gold medal or climbing Everest. There is no finish line, no objective end point but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take dedication, intense focus and a huge team effort. Progress is measured in inches not miles. At the heart of this hard fought progress is a set of human relationships which are essentially random. This time last year most of us had never met and yet now many of us are friends and perhaps on the journey to being family.

Rarely do work relationships become deeper, but the teams that have these at their heart – whether Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak then Jonny Ive, or Bill Gates and Paul Allen – have a much greater ability to change things and really deliver huge visions. They also create an environment where deep, meaningful working relationships are fostered rather than the arms -length transactional relationships that exist in most businesses. These types of businesses – emotional and sometimes volatile – are never easy to work in, and ClearScore is not easy, but they are, and we are, environments where people can do their very best work.

Bill Gates said, “Most people over-estimate what they can do in one year and under-estimate what they can do in 10 years.” ClearScore has achieved a lot in our first year but as Churchill once said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Thank you for all your support in 2015 and you have my deeply held commitment to continue to make ClearScore something which will change the face of financial services for millions as we move into 2016.

Justin

 

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