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Named as one of the top ideas in 2006 by the New York Times Magazine, Kiva (www.kiva.org) is the world’s first person-to-person lending marketplace for the poor. Kiva's mission is to reduce global poverty by letting consumers lend to specific developing world entrepreneurs online. These loans help low income entrepreneurs create their own path towards economic self sufficiency. In a little over a year, Kiva has rapidly grown to become the most trafficked site in microfinance with over 70,000 internet lenders supporting thousands of entrepreneurs in 30 developing countries. Kiva has also received wide acclaim from the blogosphere (+10,000 blogs), mainstream media (NPR, BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, etc) and development experts (featured at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative and 2006 Global Microcredit Summit). Headquartered in San Francisco, Kiva is a 501(c)3 non-profit and aspires to be a major internet public good (like Wikipedia).
Prior to Kiva.org, Premal was a Principal Product Manager at PayPal, an eBay company. During his 6 year career at PayPal, Premal drove a number of key initiatives including a year long project defining eBay's role in economically empowering the global working poor. A number of corporate initiatives have come out of this effort, including PayPal's support of Kiva.org. Prior to PayPal, Premal was a strategy consultant at Mercer Management Consulting in New York. Premal has had a long standing interest in microfinance. In 1997, he was awarded a grant from Stanford University to research microfinance in Gujarat, India. More recently Premal co-founded the Silicon Valley Microfinance Network and spent 2 months in India working to refine / validate Kiva.org's model. In 2006, Premal was a featured speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative and Global Microcredit Summit. Premal graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University.