Julia Kurnia

"I always saw the international wealth divide as the defining challenge of my generation"

Current Place
Sterling, Virginia, United States of America


I'm passionate about using the internet to overcome geographic barriers in the most marginalized places on earth. At age 22 I co-founded the world's first microfinance organization built entirely from crowdfunding capital sourced over the internet, using funds raised from Kiva.org in Senegal, West Africa. I went on to spend four years managing U.S. government grants to small businesses in Africa, gaining first-hand experience in the traditional system of development aid with all its corruption and inefficiencies. I also saw the internet revolution transform the possibilities for connecting people in the world's poorest countries with the resources they need to take charge of their lives. In 2009 I disrupted the multi-billion-dollar microfinance industry by starting an online community to bypass expensive local organizations and allow people worldwide to lend small amounts to each other over the internet. The startup I founded, Zidisha, is the world's first person-to-person lending platform to connect lenders and borrowers across international borders without going through intermediary banks - overcoming previously insurmountable barriers of geography, wealth and circumstance. It's an incredibly worthwhile thing to be a part of.

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