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At ProFounder And Kiva, Community Is Key

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Major corporations may rule the headlines of financial media outlets, but ProFounder CEO Jessica Jackley wants everyone to know that you don't have to be Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) to raise capital, nor must you buy Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to make a good investment.

“ProFounder is a platform that allows entrepreneurs to raise investment funding from their friends, family and community,” Jackley told Benzinga during a recent interview.

Full Interview: Talking About ProFounder with CEO Jessica Jackley, Part 1

Jackley said that ProFounder was created with the goal of allowing entrepreneurs to include whoever they want in their investment opportunity.

“Usually it's a very confusing and expensive process,” Jackley said. “As my co-founder and I researched this space, we found that 87% of funding for private companies comes from friends and family.”

The process, Jackley said, starts with the creation of a profile. “There are four main sections of info that [entrepreneurs] can complete, and if they have all of the info at their fingertips, it can take as little as 15 to 30 minutes to do,” she revealed. “What we find is that many entrepreneurs take several days, if not weeks, and sort of work through getting the right information up there to create their online pitch.”

Before launching ProFounder, Jackley worked in East Africa with the Village Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit group that provides small grants to entrepreneurs.

“As I saw the power of this small amount of money that changed their lives, the financial vehicle was amazing,” Jackley said. “What blew me away even more was that I was suddenly hearing this new story of the poor and this new story of entrepreneurship that I had never heard before.”

This inspired Jackley to start her own nonprofit, Kiva.

“In the first year, we facilitated around $500,000 in loans,” she said. “The second year was around $15 million total. The third year was around $40 million. The fourth year was almost $100 million. The fifth year – we're, I guess, five and a half years in now – and I think the total amount is almost around $200 million. It's in almost every country around the world at this point.”

All of this is possible, Jackley said, with loans that start as small as $25. “This is a beautiful way to connect people and a beautiful way to empower folks all around the world who are doing their very best and working harder than anyone else to lift themselves out of poverty.”

To hear more from the woman behind Kiva and ProFounder, don't miss Benzinga's full interview with Jessica Jackley.

Posted-In: Apple Jessica Jackley Kiva Netflix ProFounderMovers & Shakers Personal Finance General Best of Benzinga

 

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