Siroya are natural philosophers who like to probe into the mysteries of life. Their ability to think deeply and uncover hidden truths is remarkable. This intellectual curiosity makes them natural detectives who love to study things in depth, and they are often drawn to areas where they can apply their knowledge for good.
Jenipher’s food stall generates enough income to support her family, but she cannot afford to invest in expanding her business or to build up an emergency fund. She could take out a microloan, but that would require the help of a group to vouch for her creditworthiness. She could also turn to loan sharks, but their interest rates are notoriously high.
Shivani Siroya, CEO of fintech company Tala (formerly Inventure), knows how frustrating it is to be financially underserved. Her company’s mobile app uses paradigm-breaking technology to assess more than 10,000 data points seamlessly gathered on customers’ smartphones. That information, including savings balances, job stability, longevity of residence and the strength of their social support network, provides a glimpse into customers’ willingness and capacity to pay back a loan.
Using this innovative approach, Tala has lent more than 200,000 loans to people in developing countries like Kenya and Mexico. Siroya says her team is driven by a belief that all people deserve access to credit, and that innovation can play a significant role in helping them move out of poverty lines and merge into mainstream society.