A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

Shivani Siroya is the founder and CEO of Tala, the leading mobile app that is revolutionizing financial services for underserved consumers. Over 3 million people have borrowed through Tala’s smartphone app, which provides instant credit to underserved customers in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

Prior to founding Tala, Shivani held a variety of positions in global health, microfinance, and investment banking including with the United Nations Population Fund where she worked across West Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa and researched the issues of financial systems that Tala is trying to solve.

Shivani is an Aspen Institute Finance Leader Fellow, a WEF Young Global Leader, Senior TED Fellow and Ashoka Fellow. She is also on the board of Stellar.org. She holds a M.P.H from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Shivani is based in Santa Monica where Tala is headquartered, and spends non-working hours exploring Los Angeles with her husband and goldendoodle Sadie. As a social entrepreneur, Shivani fiercely believes that mission and profit are not a zero-sum game, and is on a mission to democratize finance.


What inspires you to do the work you do?

Our customers and our mission are my north star. I’m most energized by meeting with customers, learning about their lives and interests, and hearing stories of what they’ve been able to accomplish with Tala. I also love getting feedback from them on our product; I leave nearly every customer conversation with a new idea to spark experimentation, or a question for our team to further our creativity.

On Sunday afternoons, you can find me...

Preparing for the week ahead! I like to be active, so I spend a lot of Saturdays exploring new places. I balance that with making space on Sundays to reflect and recharge, and get to inbox zero.

Tell us about someone you admire.

I’ve always admired my mother, a doctor who used her profession to help people in our community. She was successful because she had strong relationships with her patients, which taught me the meaning and value of trust from an early age. Today, radical trust is at the core of Tala’s culture and mission.