Today we are talking to Ben, the CTO at Branch.  And we discuss how Branch is delivering financial services to the mobile generation in emerging markets, the story behind the time that Ben won a Technology Emmy, and overcoming the challenges of booting up distributed engineering teams when the world is shut down.

All of this, right here, right now on the Modern CTO Podcast!

About Ben:

Ben is the CTO at Branch International, a startup providing financial services to millions of customers in emerging markets (currently live in India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria). At Branch, Ben leads the Engineering & Data Science team, which is globally distributed, with team members across three continents.

Prior to Branch, Ben founded Rep, a startup focused on revolutionizing how customers communicate with businesses via messaging (funded by Accel, First Round, and others, acquihired by Stripe) and held senior engineering leadership roles at Google, where he led YouTube’s Recommendation and Personalization teams. He helped scale YouTube to over 1 billion users and was the proud recipient of a Technology Emmy Award for his work on its recommendation & personalization systems.

Ben got into technology by learning to program his Mac in C++ back in the ’90s. He studied Computer Science in Germany (Jacobs University Bremen) and the US (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and spent much of his time in university focusing on Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence. Outside of work, he’s an avid cook, a halfway decent runner, and a terrible chess player.

About Branch:

Branch delivers world-class financial services to the mobile generation. With offices in San Francisco, Lagos, Nairobi, Mumbai, and Mexico City, Branch is a for-profit socially conscious company that uses the power of data science to reduce the cost of delivering financial services in emerging markets. We believe that everyone, everywhere deserves fair financial access. The rapid spread of smartphones presents an opportunity for the world’s emerging middle class to access banking options and achieve financial flexibility.


Branch’s mission-driven team is led by founder and former CEO of Kiva.org. The company presents a rich opportunity for our team members to drive meaningful growth in rapidly evolving and changing markets. Most recently, Branch announced its Series B and has garnered more than $100M in funding with investments from leading Silicon Valley firms.

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company LeaderBits.io. Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of BeasleyFoundation.org a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

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