International Entrepreneur Spotlight: Kiran Pingali

The second time’s the charm for Kiran Pingali, a fintech expert and entrepreneur.

Like many others from his native India, Kiran came to the United States for graduate school. However, unlike most, he made his way to the U.S. not once, but twice. He earned a master’s degree in engineering, specializing in computer science and finance, from Cornell University. But instead of staying in the United States after graduation, he moved back to Japan, where he had lived and worked for a year before starting grad school. 

Big Dreams in the Big Apple

Kiran worked in the fintech space in Tokyo for nine years until his dream job came calling.

“I had the opportunity to work for a global technology firm servicing the financial industry at its global headquarters in New York, right in the heart of Times Square,” says Kiran. “That was too good to refuse.” 

Kiran joined Thomson Reuters, a multinational media company that offers financial, legal, and international news, where he created innovative products and services. Later at Bloomberg, he developed a groundbreaking electronic marketplace for ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). Meanwhile, in addition to his work at Bloomberg, Kiran also completed the executive MBA program at Columbia Business School, where he focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, product innovation, and platform and marketplace design. He also passed the exams required for the highly-coveted CFA Charter designation from the CFA Institute.

In 2020, Kiran and former Bloomberg colleagues founded TELK Group, a fintech startup with an innovative research, data, and analytics platform designed for the institutional, wealth management, and retail investment communities.

“TELK Group’s platform saves investors time by presenting information in a concise and actionable format at a fraction of the cost compared to existing solutions,” says Kiran, who is the company’s CEO. “We overlay machine learning and natural language processing to provide actionable information to our customers. We believe that bringing high-quality, unbiased, and unconflicted research is a privilege and a responsibility, and this helps the wealth management industry, specifically financial advisors, manage their clients’ assets in a more intelligent way.”

Kiran notes that independent financial advisors make up one of the fastest-growing segments in financial services: Independent financial advisors manage $5.7 trillion in assets, which has more than tripled in the last decade.

Passion, Patience, Perseverance

Shortly after co-founding TELK Group, Kiran participated in the Founders Institute’s incubator, entrepreneur training, and startup launch program in New York and subsequently became a mentor with the program. He says participating in the Founders Institute program along with the contacts he’s built up over the years and doing outreach via LinkedIn and other social media channels has enabled him to grow TELK Group into what it is today.

“Passion, patience, and perseverance are the keys to success,” says Kiran. “Be open-minded, be ambitious, think big, focus on your advantages, and find a mentor—or mentors. Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness.”

Kiran is also a huge believer of the growth mindset advocated by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, which emphasizes that individuals who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others have a growth mindset and tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset who believe their talents are innate gifts.

In his free time, Kiran practices Transcendental Meditation, which he says has had a profound effect and allows him to think more clearly and creatively when making decisions.