2nd Place 2010  Finalist

Ruma

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USA

Of the 250 million people in Indonesia, 3/4 live below $2.5 a day, and 2/3 have mobile phones. Ninety percent of these users buy prepaid minutes instead of paying a monthly bill. Ruma sells a business-in-a-box that enables small entrepreneurs to sell prepaid minutes. We buy minutes at a discount from 10 telecom operators and store them in our server. When a customer buys minutes from our entrepreneur, we send the minutes electronically via SMS thereby reducing the need for a physical voucher. We worked with Grameen Foundation to develop this model, which is essentially the next evolution of the Grameen Phone. As of March 2010, we’ve deployed a network of 2,000 entrepreneurs, $3,000 worth of minutes to 80,000 customers each day. Seventy percent of our entrepreneurs were below the poverty line when they joined; now 100% are profitable. We plan to launch a jobs market, micro-insurance and retail application using our prepaid minutes platform.