‘This is not our customer...’ 

That was the common justification banks used to deny loans to the entrepreneurs Shivani Siroya supported through her work with the United Nations. While it’s not unusual for a tech startup to raise millions before ever launching a product, small business owners across the globe are all-too-often deemed unworthy of even just a few hundred dollars by traditional financial institutions.  

In 2011, Shivani set out to change this at scale. Her company, Tala, has since disbursed more than $3 billion in microloans across India, Kenya, Mexico, and the Philippines. Borrowers simply answer a few questions on a mobile app and — within minutes — they have access to capital. What’s more is that the vast majority of the Tala’s loans are repaid, even with such a frictionless vetting process. 

This week on How I Built This Lab, Shivani talks with Guy about the lightbulb moments that drove the creation of this vital credit solution and its potential to uplift entire national economies. 

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