BLUE WING -WINGS FOR CHANGE- 「The fight to solve economic inequalities A new way to finance to those in need」

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Shivani Siroya

Shivani and her team built the Tala app, a new system to measure credit scores using 10,000 mobile data points on smartphones. The mission is to reach the more than 2.5 billion people in emerging markets without credit scores to provide financial services that can advance their daily lives.

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Shivani Siroya

STORY OF CHANGEMAKING

How do you build trust in an emerging market?
By listening to how over 4,500 people spend their money.

imageI started my career in investment banking and soon got interested in microfinance. When I began working in the field, I realized that although microcredit helps many people, most loan products did not cater enough to the need of the borrowers. The borrowers did not have much choice or freedom over their loans or control over their future.

After I studied econometrics and health economics, I became an analyst for the United Nations Population Fund. I interviewed over 4,500 people to learn more about where their money obtained through microloans went and how they made financial decisions. I became like a walking ledger sheet – I studied every detail of their earnings, needs and expenditures during my research. This was a life-changing experience for me.

The first step to finding a solution:
The start of InVenture (currently Tala)

imageThere were two things I noticed during my research. First, people who only use cash on a daily basis cannot establish any credit. This means they lack the ‘financial identity’, a credit score. Second, traditional credit scoring models do not take non-financial indicators into account, such as their lifestyles and behaviors.

Through my research, I figured out the type of people who could be candidates for financial loans – but there were no financial product on the market for them. The banks did not have the time or the resources to get the depth of information I gained through hours of research. When I thought about creating a new system that could show their reliability, I realized that the solution was in mobile phones, specifically, smartphones.

Smartphones: The best place to look for personal big data.

imageEager to find a solution, I returned to the U.S. and started working again at an investment bank for about a year. I also began building a prototype for the Tala smartphone app. Using LinkedIn, I reached out to over 1,500 people who could provide help or support. I was lucky enough to connect with many people and institutions that gave me great advice.

Determined, I left my position and started my own company in 2012. Luckily, we immediately received our initial round of funding, and by 2014, developed our first smartphone app, Tala. Tala uses over 10,000 data points to analyze information on smartphones to calculate credit scores. In Kenya, users were now able to take out an instant loan of 500 USD, paid to their mobile bank account. Currently, more than 10 million USD in loans have been given to over 120,000 people.

Globally, there are 2.5 billion people who do not have credit scores. Their lack of financial identity denies access to credit or other financial products that can improve their livelihood. On the other hand, in the emerging markets, more than one billion smartphones are in service. Through Tala, users can get credit scores to gain access to loans, insurance and other financial services. Users will also be able to make sound financial decisions through this app. Our new service can give someone a new life.

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PROFILE

Portrait of Shivani Siroya

Shivani Siroya

Shivani Siroya is a fintech entrepreneur and founder/CEO of Tala, which works in emerging markets to help anyone with a cell phone build a financial identity. The Tala smartphone app accesses 10,000 data points per customer to create an instant credit score, allowing users access to financial services. Tala has already disbursed millions of dollars in capital to hundreds of thousands of customers in East Africa and is rapidly expanding its services throughout Africa and Asia.

Prior to founding Tala, Shivani held a variety of positions in global health, microfinance, and investment banking, including with the United Nations Population Fund, Health Net, Citigroup and UBS. Shivani is a 2016 Aspen Institute Finance Leader Fellow, 2016 WEF Young Global Leader, 2015 Senior TED Fellow and 2013 Ashoka Fellow. Holds a M.P.H from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

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ANA BLUE WING
2019.04.10
ANA BLUE WINGさんの写真
Shivani’s Roots For the holiday season, Shivani shared a peek into her cherished roots for the Hindu celebration, "Festival of Lights" or Diwali. The event is typically held on October 27th and is a celebration of good over evil. "It’s a time to be grateful for love and life, celebrate with family and friends, and reflect on goals for the new year ahead" Shivani said. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bp5o0AbALfx/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.03.10
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Shivani's 3 Key Tips for Entrepreneurial Success A recent article featured on careercontessa.com shared 3 key tips from Shivani's advice to women entrepreneurs: 1. "Do your homework... I didn’t set out to build a tech startup, it just happened to be the best solution to the problem I wanted to solve. Technology is a means, not an end." 2. "Identify your hypothesis and test it. The learnings that come from experimentation are invaluable, and technology offers a cost-effective and efficient system for reaching people and getting and measuring results." 3. "Listen to your customers... If what they’re saying about your product or service is something you don’t want to hear, or hard to respond to, it’s in your best interest to listen. Your success depends on it." https://www.careercontessa.com/interviews/shivani-siroya-tala/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.03.13
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Networking as a Foundational Practice for Entrepreneurship A recent article featured on careercontessa.com describes Shivani as "a rebel—an outsider in the entrepreneurial landscape" who "built a company whose founding pillar is ‘Radical Trust’—a ‘fundamental belief in people.’" Foundational to her success was the ability to build meaningful relationships through networking and mentorship. As Shivani explained, "I’d talk to anyone who was willing to listen, and even did cold outreach to nearly 1,500 people on LinkedIn if I thought their background or experience could be helpful to me. In the process, I became more open and collaborative, but I also learned to trust my own vision." *Shivani Siroya (left) with Kristin Lemkau (JPMorgan Chase, center) and Stephanie Cohen (Goldman Sachs, right) https://www.careercontessa.com/interviews/shivani-siroya-tala/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.02.21
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Shivani Featured on Create & Cultivate 100 List. Shivani is featured on this year’s Create & Cultivate 100 list of inspirational women in STEM & Finance! In a feature interview on createcultivate.com, Shivani was asked about the importance of community regarding women in tech and shared some thoughtful insights: "For women in tech, starting a new venture can be exciting, yet lonely and difficult. A community can serve as a much-needed constant in a journey that’s likely to be unpredictable. I fully believe that community is the key to sustainable success. My family taught me the importance of being there for others, and I love sharing ideas and helping others make connections, as I’ve benefited from the help and advice others have given me." https://bit.ly/2R5NcXw https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.02.16
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Tala[Tala Mobile] Is One of the Best Places to Work for in LA. Already kicking off 2019 with a strong start, Tala was nominated as one of the “best midsize places to work for in Los Angeles” by Built In LA, a city-based job site for startup/tech companies. Shivani shared the news on her Instagram adding, "there’s been so much hard work and passion that has gone into this. I’m so proud of our team and their constant determination to build an equitable company and place to work - go team Tala go!!" https://www.instagram.com/shivsiroya/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING
ANA BLUE WING
2019.02.17
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Self-Care in a Busy Life. Ever wonder how busy startup founders take care of themselves? Female Founders Fund tweeted how they were finding balance in the new year and shared Shivani's advice around developing a routine. Swearing by morning walks, and a set sleep schedule, Shivani explained how “our bodies love routines and the more you can give yourself some steadiness — the more you’re able to push yourself because your mind always has something constant to ground back to... even if it’s for ten minutes — and a walk around the block. It helps ground myself, wakes me up, and helps with jetlag.” https://www.careercontessa.com/interviews/shivani-siroya-tala/ https://www.ana-bluewing.com/en/changemakers/shivani_siroya/ #shivani #ANABLUEWING

CHANGEMAKER