Shivani Siroya

Ashoka Fellow
Santa Monica, United States
Fellow Since 2013
My work: Helping informal workers in the developing world develop financial literacy and become credit worthy.


This profile was prepared when Shivani Siroya was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Through Tala (formerly InVenture), Shivani is determining credit scores for existing and potential rural borrowers primarily via an easy-to-use mobile application called InSight. Borrowers are trained to use InSight and are encouraged to log and track their personal and business cash flows (in and out) daily, and to generate and analyze periodical reports of their financials. InVenture then passes this information to institutional lenders who now, armed with the particulars of the borrower and their business, are more comfortable about lending and charge lower interest. Thus, for the first time in any developing economy, informal sector workers are being incentivized to keep records and, in the process, real-time data is being created. Shivani believes financial literacy will allow workers to feel in control of their financial situation and most importantly, create verifiable records for lenders to monitor real-time performance of portfolio post-lending.

InSight currently functions in three states in India through five citizen organization (CO) partners and three paying financial institutions accepting InSight scores. Over 4,000 individuals are using InSight; there is an 80 percent conversion rate in first-time borrowers who begin using InSight pre-loan and a 66 percent daily usage rate among InSight users. On average, InSight users experience a 30 percent increase in revenues and a 6 percent increase in savings. Concurrently, lending institutions are now able to increase their revenue margins, and are able to foresee defaults to take corrective action and reduce costs of audits. InVenture has ambitious plans: initially targeting the 66 million small business owners in India, with intentions to enter other emerging countries in the next three to five years.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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