Lender 2.0: Kiva’s Premal Shah

Monday, May 16, 2011

Patt Morrison Asks

I could just see the eyebrows rising around the room. I was moderating a panel on philanthropy not long ago, and on my left, Premal Shah, the president of Kiva.org, was talking animatedly about how much fun Kiva donors had, competing with each other, in teams, to see who could do the most good. Fun? This is not your father’s philanthropy. Shah”s online matchmaking philanthro-banking site lets people in the donor door for as little as $25. Kiva posts loan appeals from thousands of worldwide “entrepreneurs” on the site — Shah doesn’t call them “the needy” or any other such term. Prospective lenders log on, pick their favorites and a match, in the form of a loan, is made. Shah himself is among Silicon Valley’s “PayPal mafia,” young men and women who took know-how from working at PayPal to their own pursuits. In his case it was Kiva, a Swahili word meaning “unity” or “agreement” — $25 at a time.

Source: Los Angeles Times (link opens in a new window)