Kiva | Founder and CEO | San Francisco CA United States
Founded by Matt Flannery in 2005 Kiva are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
Matt began developing Kiva in late 2004 as a side-project while working as a computer programmer at TiVo, Inc. While visiting his wife Jessica Jackley in East Africa, where she was working with a microfinance organisation, Matt met and filmed many micro-entrepreneurs and learnt about their lives and their needs. During this experience Matt and Jessica conceptualised and founded Kiva – in Swahili, “united” or “agreement”. They tried out the start up site on family and friends who, in only one weekend, funded seven entrepreneurs. In December 2005 Matt left his job to devote himself to Kiva full-time. As CEO, Matt has led Kiva's growth from a pilot project to an established online service with partnerships across the globe and hundreds of millions in dollars loaned to low income entrepreneurs. Matt is a Skoll Awardee and Ashoka Fellow and was selected to FORTUNE magazine's "Top 40 under 40" list in 2009. In 2011, Matt was chosen for the The Economist “No Boundaries” Innovation Award.