Sara Standish

June Cleaver with a PayPal Account – Kiva Hits the One Year Mark

Grameen meets Web 2.0With my head spinning from the loftiness of an IDB infused week, I happily returned to reality in a conversation with Kiva, which–as many of you know–is leveraging micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to create virtual connections between investors and micro-entrepreneurs. This doesn’t sound remarkable until you learn that this investor could be you, your Uncle Benny from Ohio, or anyone else, who with, as CNN Money so aptly wrote, “…$25, a PC and a PayPal account…now [has] the wherewithal to be an international financier.” A sort of investment experience for the proletariat, Kiva has turned the traditional microfinance lending model on its head.

But, after making a big splash in the blogosphere (NextBillion, Daily Kos, World Changing, and others), the organization had to focus on building its operations to keep up with its new found fame. (Think 10 new MFI partners, 9 employees and hundreds of loans.) I sat down with Matt Flannery, Co-founder and CEO, Premal Shah, President, and Krista Van Lewen, Director of Public Relations to discuss how they have handled Kiva’s explosive growth and where they see the organization (and microfinance in general) heading in the future. And, as it turns out what is not virtual is the economic and social returns that Kiva is creating. (Read Interview & listen to audio clips here.)