Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Mifos

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One-line solution summary:

Scaling Digital Financial Services through Open Source Banking Building Blocks Backed by a Global Community

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Pitch your solution.

We empower the 3 billion underbanked to lift themselves out of poverty by enabling impactful usage of digital financial services. Our disruptive open source approach to developing & distributing fintech harnesses the power of a global community to transform the delivery of financial services to the poor. Recognized as a Digital Public Good for financial inclusion, our open source banking building blocks democratize fintech and data science for good, creating a world where every organization is equipped to provide financial services. 

Our end-to-end open technology stack powers entire inclusive digital economies. From the foundational core banking & payments infrastructure at a national level down to the applications in the hands of end users, it is extensible via APIs, hosted in the cloud, and accessible via mobile. We guide development of the platform and nurture an ecosystem of solution providers & volunteers, creating a virtuous cycle of innovation, value, and ideas.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

The problem is enabling meaningful usage of responsible financial services. Financial inclusion is widely recognized as a proven means of poverty reduction with recent data from the World Bank and Global Findex showing continued growth in access. Extreme poverty is declining, falling to its lowest rate ever of 10% in 2015. However the rate of poverty reduction is slowing and we’re not on track to end extreme poverty (less than $1.90/day) by 2030 as part of the UN SDGs.  

Digital Financial Services (DFS), primarily mobile money and new account openings, has been the primary driver of this expanded access. As of the 2021 GSMA State of the Industry Report, there are more than 1.2 billion registered mobile money accounts through 310 deployments across 96 countries. Usage however is still low with only 300 million of these accounts active on a 30-day basis in 2019. 

MFIs, SACCOs, and Fintechs with a social mission are best positioned to enable this meaningful usage with their trusted customer relationships yet they struggle to digitally transform their operations and compete with banks and plat-fins. They need low-cost access to scalable, modern, connected core banking infrastructure so they can focus on responsible innovation.

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What is your solution?

Our solution is two-fold, the tech itself as well as the underlying development & distribution models, both driven by openness. 

We provide a common public good - modern, open source core banking/payments infrastructure delivered as building blocks which can be composed into any financial service. Fully open source & accessible via APIs, they enable innovation at the account & application level that flows on top of interoperable payment rails. 

  • Rails

    • Integration to Digital Rails (Payment Hub EE) - bridge with pluggable connectors to seamlessly connect with mobile money APIs, real-time payment systems (i.e. Mojaloop)

  • Accounts

    • Open Back-End (Application Framework)  - Cloud-native, microservices core banking architecture that is modular and scalable to build any DFS app. 

    • Open Front-End (Mobile Wallet Framework) - modular framework to build rich mobile and web user interfaces on the back-end. 

    • Digital Financial Services Platform -  hosted in the cloud at scale, this provides a platform for innovation with a single point of connectivity to millions. 

  • Apps

    • Open Banking Layer - institutions using Mifos can provide secure API layer for third parties to build apps accessing data and initiating transactions on behalf of customers. 

Platform is developed under OS licenses and maintained by partners building market-driven solutions.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our solution powers the operations of the fintechs and brick and mortar financial inclusion providers, that deliver financial services to the 3 billion underbanked. They primarily focus on women who utilize access to credit and secure places to save to benefit their entire household. 

Our solution directly targets the financial institutions that are focused on the base of the pyramid. These are typically more informal financial institutions like Microfinance Institutions, Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), Savings Groups, etc but also include digital-first fintechs that are socially motivated and aiming to reach the unbanked in a responsible manner. 

They are best positioned to reach the under-banked based on their trusted customer relationships yet they struggle to both efficiently and effectively deliver financial services and to digitally transform their operations by adopting mobile money and branchless channels.  Currently our existing end to end open source architecture for digital financial services solves this problem by increasing the scale of financial inclusion by lowering the cost of operations and providing a modern, connected, API-based platform in the cloud to enable digital transformation. More importantly, it makes innovation more meaningful by allowing financial institutions and fintechs to focus and target innovation on new services and value to the client. These institutions also struggle to get access to quality local support. 

By making our technology open, we lower the cost of acquiring, maintaining and evolving core banking systems. By having a global community fueled by open source business models, we cultivate a network of local support providers distributing a global, enterprise-grade system, and allow for locally-focused innovation built on top of a common core.  

Traditional financial inclusion providers struggle to compete with fintechs that have more sophisticated technology and banks with deeper pockets to better leverage digital financial services & Data Science. 

To survive, traditional providers must evolve to offer data-driven products through digital channels that meet the immediate needs of their customers. They are trusted, have access to a wealth of data, but need the tools & capacity to use this data to streamline operations, credit risk borrowers, target customers, and predict &  design products that impact the entire livelihood of households. 

Through our partner channel, we directly incorporate their user requirements into our roadmap and ensure that our mobile and web applications and payment systems are responsibly designed to ensure maximum adoption amongst less technically savvy users. 

By building out a common platform that addresses the majority of needs and providing an API and enabling collaboration infrastructure for technology providers to build market-specific solutions, we can address each specific local market need by having locally-built solutions powered by a global platform.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Scale safe and private digital identity and financial tools to allow people and small businesses to thrive in the digital economy.
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

Our solution aligns with the challenge because by allowing institutions of any size to access low-cost, highly connected, modern core banking infrastructure, we can enable these mission-driven organizations to scale their operations, keep pace with more commercially-motivated competition, enable greater impact, and innovate where it matters the most. With reliable systems that enable digital transformation, they can operate more efficiently at a lower cost, provide greater transparency to their customers, leverage data-driven insights to deliver new responsibly designed products and services, and focus on secure optimized user experiences to maximize adoption and impact of financial services.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Crescent City, CA, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

We have selected the growth stage of development because we are now entering the mature phase of an open source digital public good. We have evolved our software through three architectures over the past 15 years, grown out of a non-profit, the Grameen Foundation to an independent 501(c)3 non-profit, the Mifos Initiative as well as a top-level project in the Apache Software Foundation. As an open source project, our technology stack is widely adopted by more than 400 institutions reaching 20 million clients across 40 countries. I haven't chosen the Scale stage because although the technology and adoption have scaled, we're still executing on a sustainable business model that aligns this high level of adoption with long-term health of our community by generating more project-based revenue, enabling the ecosystem to contribute financially through a sponsorship program and unlocking a virtuous cycle of upstream contribution to maintain the tech stack.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Edward Cable, President/CEO

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

Our project is innovative through our innovation track record and our open approach. As noted in our introduction, we have pioneered innovation in the sector by surfing major technology trends - open architecture by launching the first open-source web-based MIS for microfinance, Open APIs and the Cloud by launching the first OS API-driven core banking platform for financial inclusion, and now Microservices and Composable Financial Services by launching the first cloud-native OS application framework for digital financial services. These platforms have allowed our customers to embrace the cloud/mobile to deliver financial services. 

Apart from these technological innovations that are open source from the ground up, openness is a part of our DNA. Openness is fundamental - open source technology, open standards to guide innovation, open collaboration and knowledge sharing, and open community and ecosystem guided by OS business models. 

This open approach is critical to enabling economic mobility. Openness is a catalytic enabler that unlocks a number of converging democratizing forces like Open Banking, Cloud Computing, the Ubiquity of Mobile, Big Data & Digital Identity. 

To facilitate widespread reach and grass-roots innovation, we have created a network of 100+ partners who provide local support, champion user needs to the global community, and create tremendous local economic value by building sustainable IT businesses that reduce brain drain.

This open development and distribution model is fundamental to reaching the 3 Billion underbanked by enabling hundreds and thousands of developers worldwide to contribute upstream unlocking a virtuous cycle collectively maintaining a common platform.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Rural
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam
  • Myanmar
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Congo, Democratic Republic
  • Dominican Republic
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam
  • Myanmar
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Our solution currently serves approximately 20 million people by providing the core banking platform that powers the operations of more than 350 fintechs and financial institutions across 40+ countries. We anticipate growing this to 30 million people in one year and 100 million people within five years.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

We measure progress towards are goals by the number of customers reached and our progress toward meaningful usage through social performance metrics like the PPI. We also measure technology ROI in terms of increased efficiency, lowered cost, increased revenues, faster time to market, etc. 

For the overall health of the community, we look at new partners onboarded, time to deploy the software, the number of upstream contributions, velocity from the community, frequency of software releases, mailing list activity, features contributed, new volunteers onboarded, etc

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

By design we have a lean operational model coordinating our ecosystem of partners/volunteers to unlock a virtuous cycle. Due to limited funding, we are understaffed and unable to respond to community demand with only one FT staff, one PT staff and one contractor supporting 75+ partners and 100+ volunteers.

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How long have you been working on your solution?

Mifos has existed as a concept since 2002, as a formal project since 2004, as a separate 501(c)3 since 2011 and I have worked on the project since 2007.

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

We are uniquely positioned to deliver the solution for a number of reasons. First, is our financial inclusion heritage as an initial project of Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center. Originally known as MOAP (Micro-Banking Open Architecture Project), Mifos was borne out of James Dailey’s Partner Technology experiences supporting MFI technology needs globally, envisioning an industry-wide open source platform to address MFI challenges in accessing affordable, scalable technology supported locally. 

We have pioneered  open source (OS) banking innovation by surfing major technology trends, launching groundbreaking innovation to help the sector evolve from microfinance to financial inclusion to digital financial services.

We are most qualified because openness and collaboration is a fundamental part of our culture and DNA. While the industry is now adopting Open APIs, we have cultivated a vibrant ecosystem of third party technology companies building innovative solutions on our open source banking APIs contributing back upstream to collectively maintain our platform. 

We are leaders in HFOSS (Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software) having been the foremost OS community for financial inclusion building a vibrant ecosystem and groundswell of contribution reaching more than 20M clients. These efforts have been recognized with Mifos and Fineract  selected as 2 of the 7 digital public goods as part of the Financial Inclusion Community of Practice by the DPG Alliance. 

Our team is representative of the audiences we serve because we grow organically from within our community, with interns becoming our next generation of maintainers, and our partners becoming committers and leaders of our project.

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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development, etc.)
  • Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. expanding client base)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)
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Please explain in more detail here.

Human Capital - we are working to currently fill our board of directors and grow our advisory board of strategic advisors and could use help in both recruiting these individual and structuring these roles. 

Monitoring & Evaluation - we could benefit from deriving and tracking better KPIs, executing on our ROI and Social ROI models, and coming up with more comprehensive data science strategies for our initiative as well as metrics looking at overall health of ecosystem and community. 

PR - helping with our messaging and communication strategy to distill our story and narrative. 

Product/Service Distribution - advocating at the government level for adoption of open source digital public goods 

Technology - continuing to grow our developers skilled on our fintech stack and shifting commercial vendors mindset to be willing to contribute back upstream.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

W

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Solution Team

  • Edward Cable President/CEO, The Mifos Initiative
  • Mr Godfrey Kutumela VP of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, The Mifos Initiative
 
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