Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

How is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation using data science to expand Financial Services for the Poor?

Jake Kendall (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
1:30pm–1:45pm Tuesday, 09/29/2015
Location: 1 E14/1 E15 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ***..
(3.25, 8 ratings)

Few technologies have diffused as fast and as far as the mobile phone – especially among low income populations in developing economies. Where ten years ago few in the emerging world had access to mobile devices and services, now over 70 percent of individuals either own or have access to a mobile phone in most African and South Asian countries. Billions who were previously digitally invisible now exist in data warehouses around the world.

Among other things, mobile phone data allows us to understand how populations move and interact with one another, and how individuals manage their social networks and financial lives. Studies show the potential to use this data to model customer mobility, predict optimal placement of service points, create alternative credit scores for low-income individuals, improve adoption of agriculture or finance innovations, and target marketing to “micro-segments” of the client base. These innovations represent a potential step-change improvement in supporting the lives of the poor.

Despite our excitement, several questions must be addressed. How can we smoothly extract and analyze data without disrupting mobile operator systems? Hype aside, how much real impact will these analyses have on the ground? And, most importantly, how do we expose and analyze data in safe, privacy-protected ways?

The session will cover my team’s experiences with the following topics:

  • Data privacy issues
  • Credit scoring challenges
  • Remote sensing and satellite data for weather index insurance
  • Predicting cash liquidity demand and service point placement in retail networks
  • Marketing and “micro-segmentation”
Photo of Jake Kendall

Jake Kendall

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Jake Kendall leads the research and innovation initiative of the Financial Services for the Poor team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jake’s team manages FSP’s major research grants, data collection activities, and technology innovation projects. Previous to joining the Foundation, he spent time as an economist with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) housed in the World Bank. Jake holds a PhD in development economics from UC Santa Cruz and a BS in physics from MIT. Jake has also worked as a Peace Corps volunteer, a brand analyst for a major advertising firm, in the field of public key cryptography, and as a commercial fisherman.