Kiva president Premal Shah explains how creating lending teams made funding microloans more fun and increased the site's re-lending rate. "The top two teams right now are the Atheists and the Christians, and they're competing against each other," says Shah.
Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. Kiva combines technology with social issues in a way that allows mass participation in facilitating solutions. It allows grass root support for the financing of social alleviation projects and has generated extraordinary excitement and more than $100 million in small online loans that are reimbursed if the donor requests such an outcome.
"What bummed me out was that microfinance is such a great tool to alleviate poverty and that there is a shortage of capital -- but that there is no way for the average guy in the U.S. to invest in microfinance."
Premal Shah is President of Kiva.org and is a leading social entrepreneur. In 2009, he was selected to Fortune Magazine's 40 Under 40 List and was called an named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Prior to Kiva, Premal joined PayPal early on and spent 6 years at the company. He is considered to be a part of the PayPal Mafia - a group of PayPal alumni who have gone on to found or co-found other successful companies, including YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla Motors and Yelp.
Premal has spoken widely on applying Silicon Valley breakthroughs to global poverty.