On the eve of the third SOCAP, the organization that Matt Flannery co-founded, online microloan platform Kiva, is readying for its fifth year of enabling loans domestically and abroad. He talked with blogger Emily Goligoski about the organization’s goals for growth as part of a pre-conference series with conference speakers.
How are you looking to expand beyond tens of millions of transactions to date?
We’re looking to make Kiva a global brand on the consumer-facing end. Currently 80 percent of our users are in the US, and we’re looking to make the site look less American. We’re trying to localize and internationalize in Japan, Holland, and all across Europe, largely through enabling more languages.
Now that you’re a household name, what do you think most distinguishes Kiva?
We work in a third type of interaction beyond profit-maximizing donations and charitable donations. Our lenders want their money back, and while they’re forgiving, they want accountability.
In a lot of ways, our fellows help provide that. They create a bridge between staff at the MFIs and loan recipients by training our partners on what sort of content makes people want to lend. By helping translate what generates interest, they really make the site come alive.
Why is SOCAP important for your team?
It’s a great platform for discussions with thought leaders, and we get to educate influencers about what we’re doing that’s new. That kind of networking and talking about new developments is so important.
-By Emily Goligoski