Direct P2P lending across the international wealth divide.

Zidisha is the world's first direct peer-to-peer lending service to bridge the international wealth divide, allowing individuals worldwide to lend to and communicate with borrowers in developing countries without local intermediaries. The direct connection creates better transparency, more profit for the entrepreneurs and lenders, and greater wealth creation for the world's poorest communities. We've been featured in numerous press and media for our groundbreaking work in using internet and mobile phone technologies to connect entrepreneurs in some of the world's most isolated and impoverished places with the international peer-to-peer lending market.

Team Size:1
Location:Sterling, VA
Group Partner:Michael Seibel
Julia Kurnia
Julia Kurnia

Company Launches

TL;DR: Fund a small business for a low-income entrepreneur in Africa or Asia. Interact directly with your chosen entrepreneur via chat, photos and videos. Then watch your impact multiply as the entrepreneur pays your donation forward by funding other entrepreneurs in need.

The problem: Developing country businesses lack capital

Small businesses provide 80% of employment in Africa and other emerging markets - but they lack access to the capital they need to grow and provide more jobs. Too small to be profitable for banks and too large to benefit from consumer loan apps, these businesses are called the “missing middle” because they fall between the tiers served by existing financial infrastructure.

For example, Daniel started a cybercafe in a low-income neighborhood in Ghana. His facility is the only source of internet access in the community, but it has only two computers and people must wait for hours to use them. Daniel earns barely enough to support his family, and there isn’t enough left over to invest in new machines.

The solution: Connecting entrepreneurs to investment capital

A friend invites Daniel to use Zidisha, and he signs up and posts his story and photos on the platform. His initial project of $50 is funded by a combination of Zidisha entrepreneurs and philanthropic backers who visit the website. He uses the $50 to buy a printer and add printing services to his cybercafe. Within a couple of months, the printer has paid for itself. Daniel “pays it forward” by funding $50 worth of projects for other fundraising entrepreneurs on the platform.

In a subsequent project, Daniel raises $300 and uses it to acquire two more second-hand computers. This doubles the capacity of his cybercafe and Daniel’s earnings. Daniel pays the $300 forward to other Zidisha entrepreneurs while continuing to benefit from the increased cash flow. The increased earnings allow Daniel to enroll his daughter in high school.

Eventually, Daniel raises $1000 to open a second cybercafe in a nearby neighborhood. He hires two employees to help him manage the second cybercafe.

How it works

Entrepreneurs in developing countries create project pages where they share their story, photos, and descriptions of their investment opportunity. Projects are funded by backers from all over the world.

Instead of repaying the projects as loans, entrepreneurs “pay it forward” by in turn funding other entrepreneurs on the platform.

Entrepreneurs post project updates and interact directly with their backers through the project discussion tab.

Backers can view which projects were funded by their entrepreneurs and watch their impact grow over time as the funds continue to be recycled.

How you can help

  • Connect us with impact investors who are interested in creating new opportunities in developing countries. Email the founder, Julia Kurnia, at julia (at) zidisha.org.
  • Visit our website to meet an entrepreneur today!