Former VantageScore Executive Joins Nova Credit to Build a Global Credit Score

Misha Esipov
CEO at Nova Credit

It brings me great joy to share that the remarkable Sarah Davies has joined our growing team at Nova as Head of Risk & Analytics. We’ve searched long and hard for someone to take on the challenge of helping us build a truly global credit score, and it feels like fate to have found Sarah to help turn this dream into reality.

At Nova, we’re on a mission to enable immigrants to access capital and realize their potential. As part of this mission, we’ve already assembled data partnerships with leading credit bureaus around the world (including Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, CRIF, CreditInfo, and more) and are building unique infrastructure to provide access to consumer credit data through a single end-point. Quite simply, this has never been done before -- and it presents a broad range of challenges: regulatory, business development, engineering, compliance, data definitions… the list goes on.

Over the course of the last few years, our team has tirelessly pulled these pieces together and we are finally in a position to develop a service that was once thought impossible. The infrastructure we’ve built gives us access to unique data, and when that data is combined with Sarah’s years of analytical leadership, we have the building blocks needed to develop a more inclusive global credit ecosystem -- a system where credit is available more equally and to those who need it most.

Sarah joins Nova after 12 years with industry leader VantageScore, where she led their risk and analytics function. VantageScore was formed in 2006 as a joint venture among the “big three” credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Sarah was instrumental in taking VantageScore from an idea to one of the most recognized and used scores in the market, with over 8 billion scores provided to date. Today, VantageScore is the most popular credit score used by consumers (available on Credit Karma, NerdWallet and more).

Sarah and I first met over lunch in New York a few months ago. I had come fully prepared to court her into becoming an advisor to Nova. But after one rich conversation led to another, it became clear that there was far too much to create together. From that very first conversation, Sarah was able to identify the (many) challenges we have wrestled with since Nova’s inception -- and immediately jump into a witty and creative problem-solving mode. I was drawn to her passion for social impact and near-obsessive love of data.

At Nova, we care deeply about cultural fit and spend an inordinate amount of time screening for our company values. For example, one of our values is “challenge without ego” where we strive to create an environment where everyone can challenge the status quo and its assumptions so long as it is done with equanimity. The “challenge” must come from a place of helping get us all to the right answer, not about being right yourself or out-arguing a teammate. As a true scientist, throughout our screening process, Sarah exemplified this objective analytical muscle without end and did so from a place of great poise and humility, whether it was a data mapping exercise or a 100-day plan. I couldn’t have made up a more perfect fit between Nova’s mission and analytical needs and Sarah’s experience, capabilities and passion.

At the core of Sarah’s challenge is to create a truly global credit analytics framework. Credit scores are developed and trained on models locally (within a country), but the world is becoming increasingly global and increasingly digital. What it means to “bank” and “be banked” in today’s world is piercing through the borders of any country as more and more people move around the world. By building the global standard for credit reporting analysis, Sarah and Nova together are enabling equal credit access for immigrants, smoothing their transitions, and building the future of the credit modeling space. I am thrilled to see Sarah take on this ambitious global challenge and can’t wait to see what we can do together.