Meet the Founder: Shivani Siroya from TALA Kenya

Shivani Siroya, Kenya,

One can easily say that Shivani Siroya mainly sourced for numbers, stats and figures before establishing Tala. Siroya has many microfinance jobs and investment banking at firms such as Citi, UBS and Credit Suisse in her name. The founder of Tala, a microfinance platform was inspired to leave her career in finance to launch the smartphone lending app. The app serves people in emerging and underserved markets.

According to her, she was inspired to offer the solution to the challenge by the fact that only around 30% of the adult population globally is under cover of the credit bureau. That made her discover that there are a lot of people globally who are not seen and lack identity. She felt for such people and launched in 2011, TALA is based in Santa Monica California. The fintech startup created an Android app that offers instant credit scores to individuals in markets such as the Philippines, Kenya, and Tanzania. The credit score is based on day to day data from their smartphones. Moreover, the platform acts as a lender giving loans between $10 and $500 to a mobile wallet.

The platform has granted over $225 million in microloans since the launch. In April 2018, the platform secured $65 million from Female Founders Fund, Lowercase Capital and Revolution Capital among other companies. This brought its total funding to over $105 million. TALA will use the funding to support its expansion into India and Mexico. The platform gives an average loan of $50 which is charged at an interest rate of 11%. Additionally, it comes with a repayment rate of over 90%.

The launch of the startup was as a result of Siroya’s qualitative research that inspired her throughout her entrepreneurial journey. Siroya worked with UN population Fund interviewing over 3,500 people across nine different countries in sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa. This was before she launched TALA. During her time at UN Population Fund, she met hardworking people across the globe that could not get loans due to lack of financial identity.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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