Zidisha – P2P Microfinance Directly to the Entrepreneur

Based on her experience in founding SEM Fund, Kiva’s oldest filed partner in Senegal, Julia Kurnia believes there is a vast untapped potential for p2p lending in microfinance.

To tap it she launched Zidisha.org, a non-profit that makes two changes in the process. First: There are no intermediaries. Lenders lend directly to computer literate entrepreneurs in Africa (currently Senegal and Kenya). Second: Only entrepreneurs with a credit history that have in the past paid back a loan by a bank or a financial institution successfully are eligible (this is verified).

Julia Kurnia told P2P-Banking.com:

Lending through local intermediary microfinance organizations creates high costs for borrowers (Kiva borrowers pay an average of 35.25% in interest to Kiva field partners, according to the Kiva website statistics).  Outsourcing loan management to local intermediaries also puts P2P platforms at risk of pyramid schemes, in which unscrupulous partners use funds disbursed for new loans to mask embezzlement of repayments due to lenders.  Kiva and MyC4 did very well when they operated at small scale, but as time passed and they added large numbers of partners, the cost of controlling intermediary fraud ballooned and may make their models unsustainable at a large scale.

Lenders at Zidisha upload money via Paypal (fees apply) and then can browse listings, written by the entrepreneurs themselves. Lenders do get paid interest, whoever “the principal purpose of Zidisha’s lenders in funding loans is to help finance these entrepreneurs, and not to make a profitable investment.” according to the FAQ. During bidding lenders can underbid each other with the result of the entrepreneur profiting from a sinking interest rate.

I am looking forward to use Zidisha. I plan to publish an interview with Julia Kurnia next week. If you have a question you want asked you are invited to email it to me or post it as comment below.

Unithrive – P2P loans for Harvard students

Unithrive is a non-profits that allows alumni to help students by granting interest-free loans. Currently only alumni and students of Harvard can sign up, but Unithrive plans to expand to other schools in fall 2009.

Students can borrow between 500 and 2,000 US$ per semester. Repayment begins after they graduate.

The founders Joshua Kushner, Nimay Metha and Tanuj Parikh recently graduated from Harvard. For more on Unithrive read this recent New York Times article.


Inspired by Kiva.org, Tori Tuncan set up a non-profit peer to peer lending for alternative treatments of autistic childs. Functioning on a blog and by using Paypal for payments, Lend4Health facilitated more then 30 loans so far. Loan requests are described online, lenders can contributed via ChipIn widgets (Paypal based) and Tori Tuncan posts updates on the progress and how the loan was used.

Companies can help Lend4Health by sponsoring the Paypal fees.

From the site:

What Is “Lend 4 Health”
Lend4Health facilitates community-based, interest-free “micro-loans” as a creative funding option for individuals seeking optimal health.

Currently, Lend4Health is facilitating loans for the biomedical treatment of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Other health issues may be included on Lend4Health in the future.