Vikram Akula is a pioneer in market-based approaches to financial inclusion. He started his career as a grassroots social worker in India. When he saw the inability of non-profits to scale microfinance (the provision of small loans and other financial services to the poor), he created an innovative company, Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL), that has delivered over $13 billion in micro-loans to more than 9 million poor women across India. For his work in financial inclusion, TIME Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006.

He has written two books: the forthcoming Micro-Meltdown: The Inside Story of the Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of the World’s Most Valuable Microlender and A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability.

Vikram currently serves as Chairperson of Vaya, a technology-oriented financial inclusion start-up in India. Vikram is also an angel investor in AgSri, a sustainable agriculture company working in India and Africa to help small sugarcane farmers reduce water use.

(Click to read more about BFIL, VayaAgsri)

Vikram has worked with McKinsey & Company and has a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.A. from Yale University, a PhD from the University of Chicago, and was a Fulbright Scholar.