Milaap is an online microlending platform that was founded in June 2011. The founding members are Sourabh Sharma and Anoj Viswanathan.
Milaap is registered in Singapore and India. Milaap is an online microlending platform which brings in foreign capital from international lenders and allows the working poor of the country access to these funds. The loans that are procured are being used to fund various key areas such as vocational training and skill development, healthcare, sanitation, water, sustainable farming, energy and enterprise development.
Currently in an attempt to reach out to the community, they have a presence on the social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo and a blog.
e27 managed to engage Anoj in a short email interview.
What is Milaap’s philosophy?
Milaap was founded with a simple mission, to connect with ease the struggling 700 million people of India living below $2 per day with prosperous Indians and the Diaspora, one based on mutual respect and dignity, creating opportunities that change the playing field for the poor.
How is Milaap different from Kiva or other similar platforms that engage in micro-lending?
Milaap’s idea was sparked when the founder, Anoj, an ardent Kiva supporter was frustrated that a similar service wasn’t available to the Indian poor, constituting more than 25% of the world’s population living in poverty. While Milaap was built inspired by Kiva, certain characteristics are unique to us.
- First in India to enable global lending : Milaap is the first platform that enables anyone in the world to lend to India’s working poor. Other international players such as Kiva follow similar crowd-sourcing models but haven’t been able to work in India . But Milaap holds the unique advantage of sourcing capital for India’s poor from both foreign and domestic lenders. This opens up a whole new segment of people who can pave the way for bringing essential services to the 700 million who live on $2 a day.
- Cheapest Loans for the poor in the world: Milaap passes on the benefits of low cost loans from individuals to the end borrowers who end up paying interest as low as 6 – 9%. In contrast, the average interest rate on Kiva’s loan is around 34%.
- Self-sustaining business model: while Kiva depends on grants and donations to cover its operating costs and doesn’t have a revenue model, Milaap was built with a vision to be self-sustainable by charging a small interest fee to the borrower to cover its operating costs. This fee is 50% or more cheaper than existing sources of capital for the poor in the country.
To date, what is the reach and impact of Milaap?
Milaap has raised nearly $150,000 in loans, working across three states (eight districts) in India namely Tamil nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and impacting over 1750 lives.