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Loans are way much better form of helping, but investing with a partnership and advisors is a better option. Money is the key ingredient, but the some ventures do require lot of knowledge. Are loans preferred due to regulatory issues? How do you overcome "This is just money from rich western guys to dump the guilt" mentality? Are you going to build alumni network in similar vein to YC?

Hi lukasm, an online investment / advising service that bridged the international wealth divide would add immense value. We did not attempt it at Zidisha due to the difficulties in monitoring and policing such a system at scale.

Most of our borrowers seem to feel a strong obligation to repay their lenders despite the disparity in wealth and culture. Maybe this is because they see the lenders as individuals like them.

Our members, borrowers and lenders, communicate with each other regularly through the website, and sometimes meet in person as well - for example, Zidisha members in Nakuru, Kenya, held a conference last week. It would be interesting to try to develop that into a network more focused on sharing advice and help, like YC.

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