CITAPP Seminar Series: Talk by Smita and Ram of Rang De on Building a Technology Platform that Connects Communities

Date: 21/09/2022

About the Talk:

In their journey as social entrepreneurs in the last 14 years, Smita and Ram have experienced the importance of empathy while designing solutions. The session illustrated how empathy and human centered design have been at the core of everything they have built – right from developing a business model that upholds the mission to building a technology platform that connects communities.


Smita and Ram are co-founders of Rang De – India’s first peer to peer lending platform on a mission to revolutionize credit access by making it affordable and accessible. Rang De pioneered peer to peer lending in India in the year 2008 and has enabled over 100,000 low income families kickstart and sustain entrepreneurial ventures. The platform has connected more than 20,000 global Indians from across 26 countries to rural entrepreneurs, farmers and artisans across India. Having started as a non-profit, Rang De pivoted into an NBFC P2P in 2019 and is now regulated by RBI.

Smita has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is a firm believer that even where institutions have failed, citizen’s movements prevail. Ram, an engineer turned social entrepreneur, was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in recognition of Rang De’s game-changing efforts. Smita and Ram incubated the idea of Rang De while they were based in the UK and are deeply passionate about societal transformation.

Smita and Ram’s talk was followed by a discussion and Q&A session.

CITAPP’s Monthly Seminar Series is an attempt to create a forum where researchers across IIITB domains can meet and discuss cutting edge research on the chosen theme of the semester. The Series hopes to explore a technology or topic for its ramifications in different realms of social activity. In particular, we are interested in understanding the specific kinds of complexity that these domains present for technological innovation and design.

CITAPP at IIIT Bangalore is an interdisciplinary think-tank set-up to focus on the policy challenges and the organizational demands made by technological innovation. Of particular interest to the Centre is how technological advances, along with institutional changes that harness the legitimacy and the powers of bureaucracies and market, address the needs of underserved communities.