Season 1: Episode 14
The Power of Visibility: Shivani Siroya on Inventure and the Emerging Middle Class
The planets aligned and I had the opportunity to speak with a woman in high demand and nearly constant motion: Shivani Siroya, founder and CEO of InVenture. We discussed the emerging middle class, the secret sauce of context in our daily lives, and the frustration and fantasy that gave her the idea for this brave new world of data science and quality of life.
The process that led Shivani to create InVenture – what she describes as mobile technology and data science company – was an organic one. Raised in both India and the US, she always had a sense that the people around her, regardless of geography or means, were equal. As a part of her work for the UN Population Fund, she spoke with over 4500 individuals in 9 distinct markets, and this deep dive only broadened her concept of value when it came to people and their businesses. The more she spoke with people, the more she realized that banks have a massive blind spot when it comes to determining lendability: they didn’t see their prospective customers’ daily lives, or how they interacted with the world around them. In her own words, “We needed to create a system for financial services that put people on a level playing field.” Thus, InVenture was born.
InVenture allows members of the emerging middle class in developing nations to forgo the dusty old school FICO type score and apply for loans and credit directly via their smartphones. Not only that, but the decision takes only a handful of minutes – and if consumers are denied, they are given insights as to how to improve their “score.” InVenture determines a person’s lendability by comparing their answers on a short questionnaire to the mobile data gleaned from their smartphones, and within moments someone who was once invisible to banking institutions is now able to make purchases for their business or even pay to attend school. By using this technology to uncover previously obscured data points, the InVenture team aren’t just providing consumers with money – they’re giving people unprecedented access to a chance at improving their quality of life.
Join us as we delve into this massive onramp for the emerging middle class, visibility as a superpower, data privacy, and the future of InVenture. Will citizens of the world soon be using their smartphones to prove their lendability? Shivani firmly believes that fresh relevant data, rather than a static snapshot is a more accurate reflection of that person. “Our ability to see that, as a company, is our value.”
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