You don’t hear of many $2 loans in the United States, where $2 won’t buy you more than a chocolate bar. Branch is a way onto a platform that promises much bigger loans, based on your credit worthiness.
What is Branch and why is it bothering with such small amounts of money? For answers to those questions, we talked this week with its founder and CEO Matt Flannery, who previously cofounded and co-led Kiva, a now 14-year-old micro-lending platform that enables families to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Flannery realized while running Kiva that a nonprofit — which Kiva is — can only get so far when it comes to fundraising. Meanwhile, fascinated by the spread of smart phones and digital payment systems in Africa, Flannery knew that if he could raise serious capital, he could make even more loans to small business owners without needing to meet and interview them first.