Despite the increasing sophistication of our financial markets, some people are still wary of using the internet for other activities. In fact, one recent survey shows that women are more likely than men to favor offline banking over electronic banking services. But, a new initiative in San Francisco aims to combat that gender divide and make the internet both easier and safer for all women.
Lending2Buy is a platform that uses the web to enable businesses to look for entrepreneurs to serve on their boards. Women are chosen via an online nomination and vetting process where the application is filled out by business owners.
Lending2Buy asks for a wealth of background information from women, including letters of recommendation and testimonials from previous customers.
When Lending2Buy receives an application, the site goes through a vetting process that screens each applicant. The algorithm then sets a loan limit. After the application is approved, businesses post to the site for other potential female entrepreneurs to be considered for board membership.
On the site, businesses share updates on which women have been selected and what boards they are on. Many of these are women of color who are a new force in Silicon Valley.
For women, it is easy to visit and apply, but it is not so easy for businesses. Since the application process is a one-to-one app, the application itself requires accessing a web browser. Lending2Buy makes up for this inconvenience by making this process as painless as possible — by making the application process user-friendly and by providing tools to turn users into more engaged and loyal business customers.
So far, more than 550 businesses have signed up to be a part of the platform and more than 150 women have been board certified. While this certainly is a solution that is designed for women, the program is also reaching more men.
“Lending2Buy isn’t just for women, but we do want the platform to appeal to our demographic. Any time an effort is taken to combat and overcome gender bias, it’s a win,” says Stephanie Kelton, co-founder of Lending2Buy.