Nicole Van Der Tuin

Nicole Van Der Tuin

Co-Founder & CEO at First Access, USA


My goal is to increase access to capital in informal markets, and I have been working on this in various forms while living in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the US.

First Access is pioneering the first instant risk scores for emerging economies, enabling the next 2.5B people to build financial identities, even if they’ve never had a bank account or a mobile phone. Our award-winning software platform enables financial institutions to radically reduce the costs of lending in informal markets, where land titles, addresses, and other forms of personal records are scarce. Most recently, First Access was ranked among Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies and the only fintech company listed among Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative” in 2016.

I have also worked with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) to create a policy strategy and conduct the largest talent/salary survey of impact investors and capacity development providers in emerging markets to date. I helped design and launch MicroWorld, which operates in Senegal, Cambodia, Peru, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Madagascar and Tajikistan. I’ve contributed strategic research on private equity and venture capital trends in emerging markets to Endeavor Global in NYC, on Chinese microfinance policy to PlaNet Finance China, and on the expansion of pilot community healthcare programs in Tibet to Surmang Foundation.

I hold an MPA in development economics from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a self-designed AB in social science research and writing at Kenyon College, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, and with Highest Honors. I’ve also studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the School for International Training in Fortaleza, Brazil. I speak French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish, and basic Swahili.


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