NCET Tech Tips: Powerful tech for a powerful new year

Originally Posted On: Reno Gazette-Journal

By: Dave Archer

NCET explores business and technology

The use of broad data sets provides corporations with the ability to crunch tremendous amounts of customer data to identify trends and make good decisions.

For a tiny handful of cutting-edge companies, the same disciplined use of data for day-to-day decision-making provides a solid pathway to success.

Bristlecone Holdings, a fast-growing financial technology company headquartered in Reno’s Midtown District, demonstrates the wide-ranging importance of using data as a business tool.

The company’s very existence depends on data utilization.

Bristlecone Holdings provides loans and leases to consumers in previously underserved markets. Its customers include folks getting a family pet and a bride who just found the perfect dress as well as those in need of hearing aids and home furnishings.

Using proprietary algorithms that quickly analyze hundreds of publicly available data points, Bristlecone can quickly assess the dependability of a customer using more than just their credit score and provide a fast answer to the retailer who wants to close the sale. Even more remarkably, Bristlecone’s technology allows it to individually shape the payment plans provided for each transaction, based on the unique profile of the qualified customer.

The company’s use of machine learning tools is particularly important to the 108 million Americans with limited credit history — or perhaps no credit history at all. Bristlecone opens new doors for millions of families. In the past, those families would have been stuck in a consumer lending system — one that’s been outdated for nearly 50 years — that’s based entirely on lagging indicators of credit scores and doesn’t look at other important aspects of consumer behavior.

For retailers, meanwhile, the company’s cloud-based system is specifically designed for each market segment, providing a seamless experience.

In short, Bristlecone Holdings puts technology to work in ways that are reinventing the business of point-of-sale financing. But just as intriguing, Bristlecone uses the same data-crunching to make decisions, both strategic and tactical, about its own business.

Like top executives in any company, the leaders of Bristlecone Holdings think they have a good understanding of the company’s business, and they think they’ve got the finely tuned instincts that lead to good decisions.

But they don’t rely too heavily on either their instincts or their understanding. Instead, top managers of Bristlecone Holdings unfailingly make data-driven decisions — even when the data runs counter to what their instincts may tell them.

The disciplined data-driven approach clearly is working. The company, the leading financial technology company headquartered in Nevada, recently moved into newly renovated office space in Midtown. It’s grown to a staff of 45 highly trained professionals in just three years after its founding.

Bristlecone Holdings is a model in the use of technology to create new management systems to serve consumers in entirely new ways.