The Mifos Initiative had the honor of being at OSCON hosting a booth in the non-profit pavilion of the Expo Hall for the ninth year this past month in Portland, OR. We also were able to continue telling our transformative story around Open Source Core Banking through a talk on the Business Summit given by Edward Cable, on Democratizing Financial Services and how Open Source Core Banking is enabling a multiplier effect. As we’ve done in the past, we like to share the firsthand experience of our Business Development intern at their first OSCON – read on below for a glimpse into Jackson Reed’s first time at OSCON.
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look back on the year that was. The growth of our ecosystem, both in scale of outreach and breadth of services and solutions continues to impress us – more than 10,000,000 individuals are now being reached by solutions powered by Mifos and Fineract! We finally began to tell that story on a grander stage, getting the word out at multiple conferences and getting recognized for different awards. While we didn’t ship many official releases, we’re ready to release the newest versions of our mobile wallet and mobile banking apps, the next release of Mifos X and are ready to jumpstart the community around Fineract CN.
As we heads toward 2019, we look to our vibrant ecosystem to help us take the Mifos Initiative to new heights – we’ll be working directly with partners to catalyze new solutions, we’ll be launching an association-based funding model to directly enable partners and users to help with ongoing sustainability, and we’ll begin executing upon our roadmap for Fineract CN, unlocking our vision of Financial Inclusion 2.0.
Here’s our list of the top 10 moments from 2018 in more or less chronological order.
For those of you whom I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, my name is Braden McDarment. I am a junior at the University of Washington, Seattle campus, studying Political Economy and Economics.
Just a few weeks ago Ed Cable, James Dailey, and I drove down to Portland for the 20th anniversary of OSCON! The event was hosted at the Oregon Convention Center, where it will be held again next year. At the end of each event day I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many renowned individuals of the open source community.
During the day Ed and I manned the Mifos Initiative booth. At the booth we informed attendees about our mission and how we go about tackling financial inclusion. The attendees asked several keen questions and were eager to learn more about how they could help our community grow. The discussions helped me broaden my knowledge about Mifos and the open source community.
Many of the attendees we talked to expressed interest in volunteering after learning more, and some even wanted to join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating to Mifos. You can also join the Open Source Fintech Force by donating today! Without your support Mifos won’t be able to reach the millions of people in desperate need of access to financial services. Click the link below to be a supporter.
Also at OSCON, I had the chance to attend a few of the talks. The subjects varied from blockchain to open banking. One talk that stood out to me was “Cloud-native Open Source on the Blockchain for Financial Inclusion” by Myrle Krantz. She is the VP of Apache Fineract and has been passionate about financial inclusion ever since she worked at Mifos. She spoke about how 10% of humanity lives on less than $1.90 a day, and how 2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to financial services. Mrs. Krantz discussed how Apache Fineract CN makes it easy for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to be more efficient and successful. Because many MFIs don’t want to host their own database, Apache Fineract CN is a perfect solution to this dilemma. I’m excited to see the impact Apache Fineract has on the world in the coming years.
Ed and James also led a discussion called “Open Banking: Fueling Innovation on an Open Source Core Banking Platform”. I recommend you can take a look at their slides here.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at OSCON. Being able to meet people at the other booths, as well as at our own, taught me a significant amount about open source and its community. I want to say thank you to O’Reilly Media, Inc. for putting on the event and to the attendees who expressed interest in helping the Mifos Initiative in the future. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.
Here’s another blog post from our community development intern, Alex Moses, as we returned back to OSCON for the 7th time.
I’m back again with another post about another conference! Just two days after I returned home from LinuxFest Northwest, I was boarding a Boeing 737 destined for Austin, Texas. I was heading down to the Lone Star State for OSCON (Open Source Convention).
When I arrived in Austin, I was finally introduced to our President/CEO, Ed Cable. Ed and I ran a booth in the Expo Hall, which was located at the Austin Convention Center. Now I would say that OSCON is like LinuxFest Northwest but on a greater scale, but that wouldn’t do it justice. The Convention Center is enormous and there were times I feared getting lost!
Ed and I were joined at the booth by two great colleagues, Isaac Kamga and Nikhil Pawar. Isaac lives in Cameroon where he works for Sky.labase, one of our outstanding partner organizations. Nikhil is currently a student that has previously worked with Mifos during Google Summer of Code, and he is working with Apache Fineract this summer.
Some of the unsung heroes in our community are the community development interns who have been helping our community grow over the past several years. Often their contributions go unrecognized so we wanted to give Drew Fass a proper farewell after an amazing year. He’s completed his year-long internship and is now back to full-time studies at the University of Washington. You might not know but we’ve created a program of bringing on community development interns through the Chi Psi fraternity at the University of Washington that is now in its fifth generation.
Along the way they’ve helped to formalize the procedures and programs to effectively engage with all members of our community. Starting with Braden Timm who compiled all of our contacts into Insightly, our first CRM. Ollie Janders then led the transition over to Salesforce for our CRM and contact management, while famously fighting poverty with financial inclusion with a lightsaber! Next came Andrew Mottet who streamlined and perfected the communications cycle and systematized into Google Drive templates and playbook that he used to smoothly on board Drew. Over the past six months, Drew Fass has now worked hand in hand with Jacob Kobzi as he passed over the torch.
This summer has been a busy one as Mifos team members have travelled around the country educating various sectors on the powerful opportunity to eliminate global poverty through open source technology solutions for financial inclusion. While the audiences have been diverse, ranging from open source developers to credit union executives to FinTech innovators, the message is the same: join our global collaborative community and help us in our mission to bring financial services to the 2 Billion Unbanked.
We wanted to take a quick look back at the conferences we’ve been at and a couple more we’ll be speaking at this upcoming month.
- SOCAP 15 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
- FinDEVr SF 2015 – San Francisco, CA (coming up!)
- SpringOne2GX – Washington, DC
- FinovateFall 2015 – NYC, NY
- 2015 World Credit Union Conference – Denver, CO
- OSCON 2015 – Portland, OR
Once again throughout the hallways and in our conference booth, our initiative was very well-received. In general, the sector is familiar with microfinance and their curiosity is piqued when they discover our initiative, an open source platform for delivering financial services to the poor. This year I noted a larger presence of financial services people more heavily involved in open source, including regulators, payments providers, and those involved in alternative currencies like Bitcoin. We are interested in bringing to bear their skills in both open source technology and financial services.
We’re right in the middle of OSCON and having a blast, meeting some incredibly motivated and talented individuals. After the conference, we’re looking to turn them into great volunteers for our community.
We have one more day at our booth in the Expo Hall tomorrow and have Vishwas Babu’s talk, Bringing Banking to the Poor with the Help of AngularJS at 11:30am, Wednesday July 23, in room D137/D138
We are excited for Vishwas to take the stage at OSCON and for others in the open source community to see how strong a leader he is.