Loan a little. Change a lot.
|Key people||Mayukh Choudhury|
Milaap is an online fund-raising platform that enables people around the world to fund and impact communities in need of basic facilities in India. Based in Bangalore, India, with its headquarters in Singapore, Milaap claims that it is the world's first online microlending platform that enabled non-Indians and non-resident Indians (NRIs) to make loans to India. Milaap's loans give people access to basic needs like clean drinking water, sanitation and renewable energy, as well as skills development via vocational training which leads to jobs with steady income.
Microcredit, traditionally aimed at entrepreneurs, tends to have high interest rates because Microfinance institutions (MFIs) that fund these loans borrow from banks at high interest rates. Besides, loans for basic necessities like sanitation, drinking water and vocational training are not easily available as they need to be at low interest rates. By sourcing funds from individuals all over the world, Milaap has been able to eliminate the need for their partners MFIs to borrow from banks. Thus, the end-borrowers get to avail low-cost loans.
Milaap and its field partners (NGOs and MFIs) facilitate and disburse the loans from online lenders to the borrowers. The loans are given out to borrowers at interest rates of 12-18% (50% lower than existing interest rates available to microcredit borrowers.) After the loan has been repaid, it will be returned to lenders as Milaap credits which they can either withdraw or re-lend to other borrowers. As of January 2012, working with four field partners, Milaap has raised USD $200,000 in loans and equity investment, from First Light Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, and the Yunus Social Business Fund.
Milaap provides a list of profiles of borrowers seeking a loan, listing their background and their need for the loan. Lenders can browse through the profiles, choose who they want to lend, and using their credit or debit card, make a loan online. The amount they choose to lend starts from USD 50 or Rs 1000. Once the borrower begins to make his/her repayment, the lender can choose to re-lend the amount or withdraw it.
Founded in June 2010 by Sourabh Sharma, Anoj Viswanathan and Mayukh Choudhury, it took Milaap almost a year to gain approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to enable lenders outside India to lend to India through their website.
Awards and honours
- NUS Practicum Award
- Top 10 at iDiya 2010 @ ISB
- Winner of RYSEC
- Asia-Africa Regional Finalists @ GSVC
- Finalist at Startup @ Singapore
- Level 3 Incubation by Unltd India
- Finalists at Ideas Inc, NTU Singapore
- Business Times, Singapore: Transforming lives for the better, September 6 2011
- Next Billion: Milaap Providing Vocational Training to Rural Students Via Microlending
- Livemint: Microfinance gets lending boost with RBI nod to crowdsourcing
- Young Turks on CNBC TV18
- Next Billion: iuMAP: Milaap Bridges the Gap for Microfranchisors
- Bangalore Mirror: Milaap unites the moneyed and the cashless
- e27: Milaap creates opportunities by being India’s first global lending platform
- The Hindu: Lending a hand
- Hindustan Times: Loan a little
- Youth ki Awaaz: Enabling rural entrepreneurship through micro-loans