Zidisha launches at Y Combinator

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Julia Kurnia, Jan 23, 2014.

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  1. Julia Kurnia

    Julia Kurnia Director, Zidisha Zidisha Staff

    We have some exciting news for the Zidisha community: Zidisha has been selected for participation in the prestigious startup incubator Y Combinator.

    Y Combinator is considered the world’s top funding and growth program for game-changing online startups. Such well-known companies as AirBNB, Dropbox, Scribd and reddit got their start with Y Combinator.

    Up until recently, Y Combinator funded only for-profit companies. Zidisha is only the second nonprofit to launch at Y Combinator. (The first was Watsi, a world-changing platform for crowdfunding medical treatments in developing countries.)

    The Y Combinator program will take place from January until March this year. I have relocated to Mountain View, California, for these three months in order to participate. During this time, the Y Combinator advisors will work intensively with Zidisha, to help us acquire the expertise and resources we need in order to scale up our lending platform.

    Y Combinator is highly competitive, and accepts only a tiny percentage of organizations that apply. Zidisha made the cut because we are doing something that nobody else is doing, and something that has the potential to change the world.

    We are building a person-to-person lending community that transcends hitherto impregnable geographic barriers – barriers that have acted as hitherto insurmountable handicaps for people who happen to have been born in the world’s poorest places. Now that we have the ability to bridge geography using the internet, geographic handicaps can be overcome. That is the world we are making.

    Such audacious innovation is not an easy thing to be a part of. Forging new paths means there is no roadmap to follow, only a continuous process of learning and improvement. Joining such an unconventional endeavor – as a borrower, lender, supporter or volunteer – is not an easy choice. It feels much safer to stick with tried-and-true avenues of philanthropy. Supporting Zidisha before we had much external recognition required a lot of boldness, vision and faith.

    That is why we have you to thank – our borrowers, lenders, volunteers, and everyone else who has accompanied us this far. Zidisha is a community of faith – not in the religious sense – but rather faith in the basic goodness of other people, and faith that we will overcome the geographic handicap that has held back too much of humanity for too long.

    Thanks to each of you for keeping that faith alive.

    You may read the official Y Combinator launch announcement at TechCrunch here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/23/zi...income-entrepreneurs-in-developing-countries/
    Laurie, Kjartan, Evelyn and 4 others like this.
  2. Shehi

    Shehi Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    Surely, with all the challenges, we must be doing something right @zidisha! Top peer-peer MFI just pulled another one.
    Laurie, Evelyn, Bayle C and 1 other person like this.
  3. Tricia

    Tricia Tricia

    This is great news!
    Laurie and KirstenShute like this.
  4. Mandy

    Mandy Forum Member

    Congratulations to everyone involved in making the Y Combinator application a success.
    Laurie, Evelyn and KirstenShute like this.
  5. KirstenShute

    KirstenShute Gold Member

    I saw this in the newsletter! It sounds like a great opportunity. Not only do they offer funding, but also technical and business help. If I may make a comparison, Y Combinator can be to Zidisha as a (good!) creative writing workshop is to a (good!) work in progress. Zidisha is already a great idea and an innovative platform, but more funding and more minds working together can make it as well-known as it deserves to be.
    Laurie, Evelyn, Shehi and 1 other person like this.
  6. Evelyn

    Evelyn Forum Member

    Congratulations Julia! This is wonderful news. With the horrible deep freeze on the East Coast it is the perfect time to escape to sunny California. I look forward to seeing how Zidisha will grow after these intense three months.

    Thanks for sharing this latest development and including these informative links to Y Combinator, TechCrunch's Zidisha article and Watsi's site.

    I am so happy for you! This is quite an accomplishment.
    Laurie likes this.
  7. qt9998

    qt9998 Gold Member

    Congratulations indeed ! And glad to discover Watsi as I've been looking for an alternative to Doctors Without Borders.

    Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on Crowdfunding that in 3 lines does a great job of explaining Zidisha:

    "The US-based nonprofit Zidisha offers a new twist on these themes, applying a direct person-to-person lending model to microcredit lending for low-income small business owners in developing countries. Zidisha borrowers who pass a background check may post microloan applications directly on the Zidisha website, specifying proposed credit terms and interest rates. Individual web users in the US and Europe can lend as little as one US dollar, and Zidisha's crowdfunding platform allows lenders and borrowers to engage in direct dialogue. Repaid principal and interest is returned to the lenders, who may withdraw the cash or use it to fund new loans.[46]
  8. Eliud Mungai

    Eliud Mungai Forum Member

    This is great indeed, quite revolutionary and the effort so far has been noted! A classical big league start up now...
    Laurie and KirstenShute like this.
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