Where does MIFOS get its funding

Translations: en

MIFOS has historically gotten its funding from a variety of sources. The software was initially developed by the Grameen Foundation and was funded by this host foundation. MIFOS’s software business model is predicated on the system of charging fees. While the software is free to download, MIFOS charges the Microfinance institutions that implement their software for various services, maintenances and etc over the course of running the software. They do this because the cost of maintenance, improvements, tech support, and everything involved with the software would not fall on to any singular MFI but would instead be shared amongst every MFI that wanted the same features or software. Interestingly enough, while the software for MIFOS is free, MIFOS Cloud charges a monthly subscription rate. I’m not 100 percent sure what the idea behind this is, but I believe it is due to the higher maintenance costs of supporting a SAAS(Software-As-A-Service) combined with the fact that most institutions who can afford the infrastructure to use a SAAS can also afford to consistently pay more service charges. Along with service charges, MIFOS openly accepts donations. I don’t believe that the acceptance of donations are targeted towards their users, but rather towards any altruistic or philanthropic individuals that want to contribute towards the cause of fighting poverty. To me, this is evident through their campaign of 3 Billion Maries and other selective wording in their description pages. I don’t believe their monetization model affects the community’s cooperative dynamics at all due to its unique nature. Unlike the majority of Open Source software projects, the contributors and volunteers that are working on the project have no direct vested interest in the software’s success. The contributors and developers will not be the ones using the software. Instead of this direct beneficial link, the contributors are encouraged to contribute to MIFOS because they are interested in helping others as a means to make themselves happy. Therefore, monetization does not necessarily conflict with the developers and community’s interests because the community is unified in wanting the single objective of using the software to lessen poverty in the Third World. There are no competing projects as the MIFOS initiative was broken off from the parent Grameen Foundation to specialize just on the software. All subsequent projects such as MIFOS X, MIFOS Cloud, MIFOS 2.0, 2.6 etc were all improvements and supplements of the same core software.
In the technical ecosystem that we’re trying to target, there are other competitors out there. These include CrystalClear Software, Fern Software, and others. There are not too many businesses in this sector due to the fact that Microfinance’s driving mission is an altruistic one and return is generally very limited. In terms of Open Source Microfinance, there was one other competitor that I’m aware of called Open CBS. It was created in 2005 but in 2012, it decided to stop being open source and sell its product under a commercial license. Our project is geared towards microfinance institutions in the third world-institutions that are characteristically poor and undeveloped. Our microfinance platform often times replaces or is the only platform that the MFI’s need to operate and because small third world lending institutions like these don’t have their monetary accounts connected to an external source, we are often the only inhabitant in the technical ecosystem that an MFI supports.