Who am I to overlook a TiVo-related human interest story? This week’s Entrepreneur column in Business Week profiles Kiva.org, a peer-to-peer microlending service, co-founded by TiVo alum Matt Flannery.
What the article doesn’t mention is that at least one other former TiVo employee is involved in Kiva and has relocated to Africa. HME maestro Carl Haynes of apps.tv, Word Smith, and WordGrid fame is on the ground in Uganda. You can keep up with his experiences at Carl’s Big Adventure.
Business Week says: Kiva got started as an experiment after Stanford Business School students Matt and Jessica Flannery traveled to East Africa to review projects for the microlender Village Enterprise Fund. Matt Flannery knew of web sites such as Prosper.com and Zopa.com let folks in the U.S. and Europe extend personal loans to one another. Why not globalize it? Within a year the couple got the site up and running. Matt quit his day job as an application developer at TiVo Inc. and recruited former PayPal executive Premal Shah to help run it. Kiva, which is Swahili for ‘agreement’ or ‘unity,’ is harnessing the power of social networking to support microenterprise in the developing world.
(Thanks to Cassidy Napoli for his research assistance!)