From Stanford MBA to Building a $500M+ Y Combinator backed startup

Updated on April 25, 2024

About Nicky

Nicky is originally from Crete, Greece but grew up in the UK. Both of her parents were computer science professors but she chose a different path. She is the co-founder of Nova Credit and has recently started another company called Tunic Pay (in the UK). Nova Credit has raised $125M from investors like Kleiner Perkins, General Catalyst, Canapi Ventures, and Y Combinator.


  • British

Visa Journey

  • F-1 -> OPT -> O-1

Countries lived in

  • Greece (originally from)
  • UK (undergrad)
  • US (MBA onwards)


  • Bachelors in English literature from University of Cambridge, UK
  • MBA from Stanford University

Arrival in the US

  • Came to the US on F-1 for MBA at Stanford

First Job

  • Co-founded Nova Credit with classmates Misha and Luke right after Stanford MBA

Visa journey

  • F-1 visa for Stanford MBA
  • 1-year OPT after graduating
  • Applied for H-1B but got rejected in the lottery
  • Applied for O-1 visa and got approved after a fair amount of work/writing
  • O-1 initially got rejected at visa interview in London
  • Applied again and got O-1 approved with help from investors and lawyers
  • Went through some visa limbo/uncertainty for a period unable to re-enter the US

Current job

  • Co-founder and executive at Nova Credit

Current status

  • On O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary ability


  • Co-founded Nova Credit, a cross-border credit reporting startup, with classmates right after Stanford MBA
  • Part of Y Combinator Summer 2016 batch
  • Has raised over $20M from VCs like General Catalyst, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, NYCA, Y Combinator

Advice for immigrants and founders

  • Surround yourself with other immigrant entrepreneurs for informal advice and support
  • Find co-founders you trust entirely, as immigration challenges will likely come up
  • Talk to immigration lawyers early
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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.

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