Profile: Matt Flannery

Name: Matt Flannery

Title: CEO


Age: 30

Industry: Banking

30-second biography: While working as a computer programmer at TiVo Inc. in late 2004, as a side project Flannery began developing -- the first online platform for retail microfinance investments. The technology allows individuals to connect with and lend as little as $25 to specific small businesses in the developing world. In December 2005, Flannery left TiVo to devote himself to full time. As CEO, Flannery has led's growth from a pilot project to an established online service with partnerships in more than 30 countries and over $3 million loaned.

Prior to starting, Flannery spent time in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya filming stories of microbusinesses started by Village Enterprise Fund. It was this time in East Africa that inspired him to develop He is a 2006 Global Social Benefit Incubator entrepreneur, a Draper Richards Foundation fellow and a featured blogger on the Skoll Foundation's SocialEdge Web site. Flannery graduated with a bachelor's degree in symbolic systems and a master's degree in analytical philosophy from Stanford University.

Current project: " and its mission to 'connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.' works with a network of partner microfinance institutions that post their client loan applications directly to our Web site. Internet users in the developed world browse these applications and loan to these businesses using PayPal."

Who in the technology industry most influenced your career? "The developers of Wikipedia and Craigslist."

Technology you can't live without: "Internet and mobile devices penetrating the far reaches of the developing world."

The best thing about today's technology: "It levels the playing field for the poor."

The worst thing about today's technology: "It is being consolidated into a few megacompanies."

Technology can ... "Allow people to express themselves."

Book that was most recently on your nightstand: Globalization and Its Discontents: Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money, by Saskia Sassen

What sets you apart? " raised $4 million in its first year and a half when nobody believed it was possible."

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