Interview: Jeff Stewart, Lenddo

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm started in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Since 2004, the firm has invested close to $500 million in both non-profit and for profit ventures, all of which have a stated mission to catalyze social, economic, and political change. We’ve written about many of the companies that Omidyar has helped start over the years – Ashoka, Mango,, CouchSurfing, and D.light just to name a few.

One of the major areas of interest for Omidyar is microlending and the provision of capital for basic needs and entrepreneurship.   Capital is available but distribution can be tricky, and one of the biggest problems is validating the trustworthiness of the recipients.

A company called Lenddo has devised a way to leverage existing social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn and so on – to let people prove who they are and to prove their credibility.  According to founder Jeff Stewart, social networks, particularly among middle class folks in the developing world are incredibly powerful and accurate ways to gauge the trustworthiness of a potential loan recipient.

The numbers speak for themselves.  Lenddo has been growing at more than a percent a day in recent months and has impacted millions of people in the Philippines.  There are big plans to scale the business elsewhere.  I sat down with Jeff for a few minutes to find out more:

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.