Kountable, San Francisco, CA
Over the summer, I interned as an active impact analyst at Kountable, a global-trade finance originator fintech firm based in San Francisco. Kountable operates across the world (primarily in Africa), and although the internship was remote, I was still able to work with various project teams globally in firmwide meetings via Zoom.
Kountable’s technology platform creates a global network of trade partners including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking funding for operations, international agencies seeking SMEs to source their large projects, investors seeking securitized trade deals as investment opportunities, and many more. Via this platform, Kountable creates global financial inclusion, especially to SMEs and projects in emerging markets that often struggle to find proper funding from banks.
As an active impact analyst intern, I worked with two other interns on projects that would improve the active impact that Kountable’s products carry. This included research on current trends in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Stakeholder activism movement in regard to corporate governance and how Kountable could best present its products’ active rather than passive impact to investors. The most significant project I worked on was creating a smart contract that would automate payment splits between Kountable and its business partners in trade deals. Smart contracts greatly contribute to Kountable’s potential, as they eliminate payment delays and arbitrations that may occur as part of an analog trade deal contract; the elimination of this inefficiency streamlines the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process to attract more risk-averse investors and also shortens Kountable’s operation timeline to increase capital liquidity and hence opportunities for more SME financing, which increases the overall impact of the firm.
As a prospective economics major with an international background, I always had an interest in development economics and learning how private businesses in developed countries with a global presence could deliver impact to developing countries without carrying the notion of exploitation. Despite my previous apprehension against such a possibility, my experience at Kountable has broadened my perspective within the world of finance and ESG, as I was able to work on real projects that attempt to actively tackle these issues in the professional world. When I return to Williams, I look forward to taking my experience at Kountable to exploring more resources at the Center for Development Economics to learn further about the subject and explore new career opportunities.
Despite the internship experience being remote, my internship supervisor Chris Hale ’00 was extremely supportive in making my experience as fruitful as possible, and I am very grateful to the Petersen Family and the ’68 Center for enabling me to take a great first step in beginning my career. My time at Kountable was an invaluable experience, and I know I will look back to this summer very fondly as I make progress in my career in the future.