There’s been a microfinance angle to Horizon (a blend of AirBnB & Couchsurfing within trusted networks) all along — if I had to trace the origins back to the very beginning, finding those deeply involved in the microfinance industry around the globe was one of the early pain points I experienced traveling. The other microfinance tie is our support for Kiva while testing what we refer to as #travelbygiving (replacing or supplementing house gifts with donations to charity).

travel-by-giving-cover

We’ve spoken to many people about the concept, hosted travelers ourselves and completed a number of transactions.

Our big learning about the microfinance industry?

We’re still in the early days in terms of public awareness for the concept and power of microfinance. 

In the tech industry, pretty much everyone I speak to knows about Kiva. Outside of tech, I’ve realized most people have no idea. That’s given me a chance to explain it to many people over the last year. Once you explain how the model works, people fairly quickly buy into it. Yet despite the efforts of Muhammad Yunus and Kiva, mainstream awareness is a long way off.

I’m certainly optimistic Kiva US (aka Kiva Zip) will bring additional exposure, with city partnerships such as Oakland, Louisville, Little Rock, and New York.

About Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is a travel addict and founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate.