EFL began in 2006 as a research initiative led by Asim Khwaja and Bailey Klinger at the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for International Development. The goal was to evaluate the impact of psychometric screening tools and alternative financial contracts on access to finance and entrepreneurial growth for the developing world's 'missing middle' including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
By 2011 EFL registered as a private organization and in that same year won the G-20 SME Finance Challenge. After being recognized as one of the most innovative solutions to SME Finance in the world, EFL earned a partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, increasing its reach throughout Africa and Latin America.
EFL now works with leading financial institutions across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It has enabled or optimized more than $1 billion to entrepreneurs and individuals around the world. EFL continues to improve its psychometric credit scoring capabilities while simultaneously innovating using new alternative data sources, such as mobile phone usage data (via CDR), social network data (via Facebook & Twitter, for instance), and location data (via GPS and GIS). In addition to its existing online and tablet platforms, EFL has significantly increased its reach by expanding to mobile and SMS.