Kiva brings new levels of innovation to global microfinance
Kiva, a finance pioneer, has helped bring over $500 million in microloans to more than 1 million borrowers in developing countries. With a loan of just $25 through Kiva, anyone can help the working poor create opportunity for themselves and their families. Using Salesforce, Kiva has expanded from working exclusively with traditional microfinance partners to help distribute the loans, and is embracing new types of field partners—such as universities—to provide even greater access to capital to the people that need it.
“The first wave of microfinance is reaching maturity,” says Matt Flannery, Kiva’s founder and CEO. “With Salesforce we’re able to drive new levels of innovation and do even more to advance access to financial resources in even the most remote corners of the globe.” Founded in 2005, Kiva tasked a small engineering staff with developing the tools it needed to complete the complex process of bringing money to the developing world—including conducting transactions; on-boarding lenders, microfinance partners, and volunteers; and managing customer support issues. “By customizing Salesforce, we bootstrapped our company and quickly started issuing loans—without having to develop systems from scratch,” explains Flannery.
The organization uses Sales Cloud and custom apps built with the Salesforce Platform to track new and potential partners and conduct risk analysis and verification, manage fundraising efforts, and track volunteers in the field. Custom portals facilitate the translations (done by volunteers) that are critical for connecting lenders with borrowers around the globe. Support staff use Service Cloud to communicate with lenders, and 2 full time employees—plus 5 interns—handle 4,000+ cases each month, with response times under 24 hours.
“We’ve built a very stable infrastructure using Salesforce,” says Flannery. “We can innovate at an even faster rate and push the boundaries of what we’re doing.” By working with new types of partners Kiva has expanded the types of loans it offers, including those made to Kenyan students to help them afford to complete their college education and set out on a path never before available to them.
Growing with social
As an online platform, Kiva has always relied on social networks to build awareness, and much of the organization’s growth has happened organically through social media. Now, the organization is working on new ways to bring lenders closer to borrowers and continue to deliver on its commitment to transparency in the loan process. By creating more touch points and developing new products like Kiva Zip (which creates a more direct link between lenders and borrowers via PayPal in the U.S. and M-pesa in Kenya), the organization is helping people across the globe be more connected with a goal of increasing opportunities for the working poor.