Four years ago I quit my day job to try to build something that most people told me was impossible. I wanted to change financial systems by starting with people — to rethink the very foundations on which our financial systems are built, so that they could be better designed around the customer. I wanted to find a way to prove that the billions of overlooked, undervalued, underbanked individuals around the world deserved to be trusted with financial services that could advance their lives.
I called this company InVenture — a made-up word that captured what I wanted to do and why. I wanted financial services to be more inclusive of all people. I wanted to do this work in partnership with people. I also wanted this work to be an adventure — a journey that our company would take alongside our customers, to help them move from subsistence living into the financial mainstream.
But the solving of this problem has also been an adventure. Four years ago, I was spending months with women micro-entrepreneurs throughout Africa and India, recording their daily transactions and expenditures by hand to try to build their credit history. I couldn’t have imagined that today we’d be building these scores in an instant, from thousands of miles away and from the thousands of data points on their smartphones.
Today we’re a data science and mobile technology company with offices in Santa Monica, Nairobi, and Manila. In the past two years, we’ve moved beyond building just credit scores to become a company that will also take the first risk on our customers and lend to them directly. But today we’re also exploring what other critical services these financial identities might unlock, and we’re moving as fast as we can to take our mobile financial services platform into new markets where we know we can have an impact.
That’s why today we’re transitioning the company name InVenture and rebranding as Tala — which is already the name of our financial services app in Kenya and the Philippines. As our journey takes us into new countries all over the world, we want a singular name that is resonant in many cultures and languages, and we want our colleagues everywhere to work proudly for our singular vision of broadening financial opportunity.
We want our colleagues everywhere to work proudly for our singular vision of broadening financial opportunity.
Tala means many things in many languages, including rhythm in Sanskrit, star in Tagalog, and tree in Arabic — all symbolic of how we design and approach our product. Our new logo, with its shape evoking a drum and a star, is also a circle — capturing the sense of community and inclusivity that we strive to build both within our company and around the world. But the singular orange arrow reminds us of our commitment to each person, our desire to see them as one of a kind, and our goal of building customized products that work uniquely for them.
As we continue on this journey as Tala — with each other, with our customers, and with our incredible investors and partners — we’ll continue to stay true to the company values that have guided us from the beginning. We’ll be nimble and adaptive to change, like our customers. We’ll stay committed to excellence, bringing out the best in each other and in our products. We’ll be meritocratic, valuing people of all levels and backgrounds and experiences both in our office and in our markets. And we’ll continue to show up to work every day because we believe in providing all people everywhere with more choice and control over their financial lives.
Onward and upward!