Artoo features in Kavita’s alma mater Cornell’s Enterprise magazine — read more here or check out the whole article in their online edition.
Making Microfinance More Efficient
While smartphones are ubiquitous in the United States and other developed countries, they are scarcer in less developed countries. But smartphones are having an impact in some emerging markets. In India, a small company called Artoo uses smartphones to make microfinance organizations more efficient.
“The process of approving a microfinance loan is time-consuming and paper-based,” said Artoo’s Kavita Nehemiah, MBA ’12. “Agents go into the field, sign up customers, come back to the branch office, then send the application by courier to the home office, where it is outsourced and entered into the system.”
Artoo works with microfinance companies to provide Android and cloud-based software for the agents’ smartphones. The agents take the loan applications on the phones, and then send the forms via the Internet to the home office. A process that took one to three weeks now takes two to five days.
“By improving the field agents’ productivity, they can give out more loans,” Nehemiah said. “It also makes the microfinance companies more efficient. By reducing their operating costs, we help them become more affordable to the borrower.” Nehemiah’s official title with the five-person company is “Rainmaker.” Her responsibilities are business development, sales, and client relationships.
Nehemiah sees a growing need for mobile technology in microfinance. “There are very few companies that develop technologies for enterprises that have a social purpose,” she said. “Most firms are either too expensive or they don’t understand the needs of these enterprises. We believe mobile technology has great potential. It is becoming more innovative every day.”
–Robert Preer in Cornell’s Enterprise Online
Image Credit : Cornell Enterprise