World's First Microlending Website Continues to Fight Poverty and Empower Entrepreneurs, Thanks to $100 Million in Loans from the Kiva Community
San Francisco, CA – November 2, 2009 – October marks two considerable milestones for Kiva.org – the world's first micro-lending website for the working poor. This month, Kiva.org celebrates its fourth anniversary, in addition to reaching over $100 million dollars in loans.
Since launching in October 2005, Kiva.org has provided loans to more than 239,000 entrepreneurs in over 50 countries. Upwards of 573,000 lenders have given through Kiva.org, lending over $100 million at the end of October 2009 – an increase of nearly $60 million since the same time last year.
"This momentous time in Kiva's short history is proof that people see the value of social investments, even in difficult economic times," said Premal Shah, President of Kiva.org. "Four years ago, we introduced the technology that has made online microlending possible. As we look to the next five years, Kiva, alongside our community, will continue to dream big as we strive to make Kiva the world's hub for alleviating poverty."
In the past 12 months, Kiva has realized several notable accomplishments, including:
- Kiva API: In January 2009, Kiva.org introduced the Kiva API to the public so that developers can build tools and applications with Kiva.org data. New applications that were made possible by the Kiva API include Kiva Alerts, an application that lets you know when a loan of your preference is available for funding and Kiva World, a live map of global Kiva loans in all stages.
- United States Pilot: In June 2009, Kiva.org launched a pilot expansion in the United States, allowing individuals anywhere to make small loans to U.S. entrepreneurs through Kiva.org. This expansion has greatly contributed to the number of lenders and the volume of new loans coming through Kiva.org. Users lent over $224,000 to U.S. borrowers in June alone, making June Kiva.org's biggest month by volume up to that point.
- Auto Lending: In September 2009, Kiva.org introduced a way for individuals to lend automatically to specific types of loans, without having to search Kiva.org. Many members of the Kiva community had requested the flexibility to manually choose loans when time permits, but also to automatically choose loans when on vacation or short on time.
- Global Expansion: This year, entrepreneurs from four countries have been added to Kiva.org for the first time, including Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Mongolia. Kiva.org also added new field partners in Bolivia, Ecuador, Gaza, Kenya, the Philippines, Vietnam and the West Bank.
- Accolades: This year, Kiva.org was named one of the 50 Best Websites of 2009 by TIME magazine. Kiva.org was also recognized by TiE50 as one of the hottest start ups of 2009, Matt Flannery and Premal Shah were recognized on the Fortune 40 Under 40 list, Premal Shah was recognized by The World Economic Forum as a 2009 Young Global Leader, and Medinge Group listed Kiva.org as one of the year's Brands With A Conscience.
To keep the momentum and continue to drive innovation in microfinance, Kiva.org has developed a Five Year Growth Plan. Over the next five years, the organization hopes to raise one billion dollars in loans over the internet, reach two million entrepreneurs around the world, and realize Kiva.org's own self-sufficiency in the process.
Kiva.org is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. Founded in 2005, Kiva.org's mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. Over 585,000 people have loaned more than $100 million to 249,000 entrepreneurs in 49 countries. Currently, loans made through Kiva.org have a 98% repayment rate. Kiva.org is headquartered in San Francisco.