Partner Spotlight – iDT Labs

This regular blog series will shine the light on some of our top Partners. Not only do we want to recognize them for their accomplishments, we want others to learn from the approach they’ve taken to promote and implement Mifos.

Mifos Partners are one of the most crucial links in our community – they are the driving force that is promoting and supporting Mifos worldwide.  Aside from championing our product and bringing the Mifos technology to new markets, they act as the fundamental bridge feeding in MFI requirements to be developed by the community. Partners don’t stop there as many are also developing and localizing the product to fit their local market.  For all these reasons, we focus our full energy on making Partners successful – they are the primary channel to market, the eyes and ears on the ground, and the entrepreneurial force that will help us sustainably scale. We’d love to recognize your partner organization in this monthly spotlight so please reach out if you’d like to be featured.

In this month’s Partner Spotlight we are featuring iDT Labs from Sierra Leone. Their team is led by Salton Massally and are bringing forth an innovative complete banking as a service solution to Sierra Leone and the neighboring countries. Salton and his team are fully committed to the community and are working on contributing back enhancements they’re making.

Let’s take some time to learn more about iDT Labs directly from their team.

Overview of the Partner Organization

Headquartered in Sierra Leone, iDT Labs is a social enterprise leveraging technology to solve problems of financial and economic exclusion in the West African region. We were established in 2013 with a vision of using the tremendous potential of technology to create access where there is none, reduce information asymmetry and scale solutions to tackle big challenges in the region.

At our core we are a team of approximately 25 business and tech nerds. Our first hand knowledge of the West African context and our commitment to the principles of Human Centered Design leads to highly relevant solutions which have won us numerous international awards, such as the 2016 Responsible Business Award in the International Disaster Relief Category for our work in creating a biometric verification and payment processing system for 27,000 Ebola Response Workers.

Financial Technologies Thought Leadership

  • We advise and help implement financial inclusion strategies for traditional financial institutions who are interested in providing access to the financially excluded.
  • We are the strategic knowledge and technology partners to commercial banks, community banks, and micro-finance institutions, providing core banking systems, mobile financial services, digital payments facilitation, payroll management and other value-added services to these institutions.
  • We are currently serving as the chair and as major sponsors of the Sierra Leone Fintech Association.

Data Collection at Scale

  • During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, we mobilized a team of 35 mobile verification officers for carrying out biometric registration and payment distribution to 30,000 health workers. View the complete project here.
  • We have worked with IBM Research Africa to carry out the proof of concept and pilot evaluation for EPiC, an infectious disease surveillance system. View the complete project here.
  • We have experience in creating and running Human Centered Design based iterations, surveys and focus group studies.

Cloud Computing

  • We find ourselves at the forefront of helping West African governments realize the economies of scale, vendor independence, future proofing and tremendous cost savings that adopting cloud computing and open source technology results in.
  • We have helped deploy government payments systems, judiciary case management systems, and large scale document management solutions to the cloud.
  • We developed and operate a cloud based SaaS platform to help West African small and medium sized enterprises enjoy the efficiencies of automating but avoid the costs and pitfalls of off-the-shelf proprietary systems. Learn more.

What Motivates Your Contributions?

At iDT Labs, we are firm believers in the power that contextualized tech solutions have of solving some of the most intractable problems that plague our part of the world. In the West African region, lack of access to financial services is a major impediment to the growth of the economy. We firmly believe that given the astronomical growth in digital financial services across the world, it is our duty to utilize our skills and resources and play our part in expanding the financial safety net in the West African region, since this would not only enable individuals to take ownership on their financial well-being, but also allow them to start ventures on their own which in turn would contribute to the growth of the economy.

Who are you working with right now?

We are working with a number of microfinance organizations across West Africa on building core banking systems for them. Although the MFI market in this region is immense, the major MFI organizations have a number of challenges around properly maintaining their records and processes. Moreover, we are also in talks with development agencies and financial regulators for exploring ways in which we can create novel DFS projects.

What is your focus now and heading into 2017?

Currently, we are working on developing EazBank, our suite of core banking solutions that we are offering as both a cloud based subscription service as well as a standalone deployment to microfinance institutions across West Africa. Moreover, we are currently also developing a prototype that aims to use mobile money agents to kickstart the adoption of DFS in Sierra Leone, and are in talks with a number of leading investors in the fintech space for launching the pilot of the project.

What words of advice would you give to others in the community?

The Mifos community is extremely helpful. Our only advice would be to make sure that you take out time to answer the queries and help out other developers, as well as to open up your developed modules to the greater community with proper documentation so that others can build up on the solutions too. There is immense potential to extend financial services to the billions of unbanked people across the world, and it is important for all open source community members to extensively collaborate with each other in achieving this goal.

Personal Introduction of the Team

Salton Massally – Chief Technology Officer  

Salton Massally is a self-taught software programmer and entrepreneur who grew up in Freetown. He specializes in the rapidly growing intersection between scalable low-cost technologies and international development challenges. He is a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technology to drive social change in West Africa. He works closely with leading techies around the globe, including from East Africa, to design open source solutions.

Usman Khaliq – R&D Lead and Programmer  

Usman is a member of the technical team working on the development of our various FinTech solutions. He is also the lead of our research and development wing, responsible for conducting human centered design sprints on our in-house project prototypes in the fintech, healthcare and e-government sectors. He has a bachelors in Computer Engineering from GIK Institute, Pakistan

Francis Gucci – Microfinance Technical Services Lead

Francis is a developer specializing in open source SQL databases. He works at the intersection of technology and the Microfinance Industry, supporting growth and financial inclusion. When not working he can be found tinkering with car and bike engines, earning him the name GuchieTech the Biker!

iDT Lab’s Contact Information

Website – https://idtlabs.xyz

Phone – +(232) 77 772 772

Email – info@idtlabs.xyz

Location – 5 Foday Drive, Hill Station, Freetown, Sierra Leone

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