[FoRK] Vinod gets into microfinance

Contempt for Meatheads jbone at place.org
Mon Apr 12 06:22:34 PDT 2004

Cory posted this on Boingsters...  it's nice to see that capitalism is  
healthy elsewhere in the world. ;-)  I wonder:  if I buy some chickens  
and wear a shawl to the village meeting, will that help speed up due  
dilly on my B round? ;-) :-)


Monday, April 12, 2004
Big name VC gets into microfinancing

Amazing NYT piece on Vinod Khosla, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and  
co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who is now devoting part of his time to  
trekking rural India, making micro-loans to entrepreneurs starting  
home-based businesses.
"I was completely blown as I listened to the stories of these tenacious  
women," Mr. Khosla said. "I started crying." In his view, the  
microfinance initiatives he visited in India and Bangladesh in February  
ran more efficiently than most Silicon Valley organizations. "They have  
sophisticated credit algorithms," he said. "Does the woman own a  
buffalo? Some chickens? Does she have a toilet in her home? What kind  
of roofing material does her home have? Does she bring a shawl to the  
village meeting?"

In India, microloans are usually disbursed to poor women whose total  
family assets are less than 20,000 rupees ($459) and whose monthly  
income is smaller than 350 rupees. Yet microfinance initiatives have a  
phenomenal repayment rate averaging more than 95 percent, better than  
the best commercial banks in the world. Many of the programs are highly  
profitable, Mr. Khosla said, adding that "microfinance is one of the  
most important economic phenomena in the world in the last 50 years."


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