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No banks? No problem

Hartono Suwongso used Modalku to secure a loan for his metal fence business in Jakarta.   © Nozomu Ogawa

BANGKOK Ron Hose was leading a successful life as an entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist in Palo Alto, California, in 2012 when he had an epiphany: The place for innovation was not in the heart of Silicon Valley, but in Asia.

The American computer scientist was thinking about how to make "positive social impacts" through founding and supporting startups. At the same time, he was shocked to realize how many people in emerging economies did not even have a bank account, let alone credit cards. His attention turned to Southeast Asia, where robust economic growth was leaving many ordinary people behind in terms of financial inclusion.

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