Announcing Our Seed Round To Build Fairness Infrastructure For The Internet
Despite many efforts, today’s financial system remains unfair to people of color, women and other protected communities. If you want evidence of this, just look at FairPlay’s map of mortgage fairness for Black homebuyers in 2020:
Decisions about whether to approve someone for a loan, a job, or even a kidney transplant were once made by humans, but today these decisions are made by algorithms. And many of these algorithms appear to be repeating the discrimination of the past.
This problem won’t go away on its own. We must take action to keep the bias of the past from being encoded into the algorithms that are deciding our future.
That’s what we’ve set out to do at FairPlay™️. Just as the world built search infrastructure and payments infrastructure for the Internet, so must we build fairness infrastructure for the Internet.
Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve teamed up with world-class venture capital firms and a roster of industry experts to create the world’s first Fairness-as-a-Service company, offering solutions that allow anyone using an algorithm to make a high-stakes decision to answer 5 questions:
- Is my algorithm fair?
- If not, why not?
- Could it be fairer?
- What’s the economic impact of being fairer on my business? And
- Did we give the people we turned down a second look, to see if they resemble people we approved on dimensions we didn’t heavily consider?
Our $4.5M seed round was led by Third Prime, with participation from FinVC, TTV, Financial Venture Studio, Amara and Nevcaut Ventures. We couldn’t have asked for a better syndicate of investors which includes fintech visionaries, credit bureau executives and former regulators. We’re thrilled to have the support and brilliance of Keith Hamlin, Wes Barton, Henry Cashin, Logan Allin, Neil Kapur, Gardiner Garrard, Venkat Chary, Ryan Falvey, Tyler Griffin, Sayali Karanjkar, Rohit Bodas, May Wang, Dan Quan and Fan Wen.
In addition, we’re grateful for the support of these advisors and friends in achieving our mission:
Tom Brown, Lisa Rice, Bob Birmingham, Rory Birmingham, Jason Altieri, Melissa Lafsky, Phin Upham, Luke Simpson, Bobby Earles, Michael Akinwumi, Seth Hart, Michael Van Veen, Michael Hartmann, Ian Hardy, Rick Friedman, Gabrielle Merite, Bianca Akula, Margot Tank, Jerry Buckley, Chris Witeck, Josh Segall, John Piotrowski, Josh Kotin, Jeff Naimon, Seth Silverstein, Eric Dash, Seth Feaster, Emily Cincebeaux, Mark Kallal, Brenda Swiney, Matt Mulder, Devron Brown, Thommy Guerrero, Tori Shinohara and Howard Postley.
A Great Product Starts With a Great Team
We are longtime fintech builders and collaborators (Kareem Saleh, Founder & CEO and John Merrill, Co-Founder & CTO) having worked together for years to responsibly increase access to credit for underserved communities by underwriting hard-to-score borrowers under conditions of deep uncertainty. In the course of that work we learned about the problems, opportunities, and market shifts that make this the time to build guardrails to ensure the fairness of AI systems. We know that, if developed transparently and responsibly, these technologies can do great good, but if left to their own devices they will embed the discrimination of the past into the digital decisions of the future.
The name FairPlay™️ embodies our values. When Pierre de Coubertin revived the modern Olympics, he set out to bring the world together in a “spirit of Fair Play”—a commitment to compete on a level playing field with an attitude of excellence, respect, modesty and generosity. It is in this spirit that we created the company and its mission: to ensure that the algorithms that govern our lives treat every person fairly.
Our growing team embodies these values, setting us apart and allowing us to move with speed and conviction. We are building a strong group of talent with a hybrid of remote and in-office employees based in our Venice, CA headquarters. We continue to hire individuals with a desire for ownership, growth, and to be a part of a category-defining company with an important mission.
The FairPlay™️ team is diverse by design and we prioritize hiring candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Our team members come from world-class organizations like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, The New York Times and the U.S. Treasury. We are excited to continue growing this group of amazing talent.
What’s Next: Accelerating Growth
This round of funding will allow us to drive the expansion and evolution of FairPlay™️. We will use the funds for product development, go-to-market initiatives and hiring. FairPlay™️ works with leading financial institutions and we plan to expand our reach and into other domains.
At scale, FairPlay™️ will be the go-to Fairness-as-a-Service solution for any company using an algorithm to make a high-stakes decision about people’s lives—making it easier for all organizations that use algorithms to treat their customers fairly.
If you are interested in learning more about FairPlay™️ or in joining us to build fairness infrastructure for the Internet, feel free to email us at email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for our latest news. Lastly, be sure to visit our website.
With deepest appreciation and gratitude,
Kareem & John, Founder & Co-Founder