Cameron Goldie-Scot is a cofounder of Musoni Services, an award-winning, low-cost microfinance software licensed to more than 50 microfinance institutions. This episode of the podcast Social Entrepreneur is the first in a series we’re calling #TechForGood. As you know, technology is well suited for driving inefficiencies out of the market, creating value and allowing founders to reap rewards. And, while there is nothing wrong with creating a billion dollar tech startup, the same principles can be applied to take on some of the most intractable problems of our time.
Cameron’s story starts when he graduated from university and decided to take a 5-week assignment, investigating the possibility of using M-Pesa mobile money transfer service for microfinance. That 5-week assignment ended almost eight years ago, and yet, Cameron is still working at the intersection of technology and microfinance.
Cameron served in several key roles with Musoni Kenya. Cameron told me, “We set up the first 100% mobile only microfinance organization.” Musoni Kenya became a best practice micro-finance institution serving mainly micro-entrepreneurs. While at Musoni Kenya, Cameron and a team developed a sound technology platform for managing microfinance. Soon, other microfinance organizations started asking about their in-house system. Would it be possible to license their system to others?
Around this same time, Cameron participated in Unreasonable Institute, an accelerator for high-impact entrepreneurs. Cameron became aware of several key principles: design thinking, lean startups and small experiments with frequent iterations. Using that methodology and based on the needs of microfinance institutions, Cameron and his cofounder Sander van der Heyden began creating what would eventually become Musoni Services.
In this episode, Cameron shares the highs and the lows of his enterprise. He talks about the stresses of raising capital while watching the runway grow shorter. He talks about the need to separate one’s personal daily mood from the performance of the business. And he talks about the job opportunities in the microfinance field with Musoni Services.
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Cameron Goldie-Scot
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘I certainly didn’t plan to have a career in microfinance.’ Cameron Goldie-Scot of @MusoniSystem“]
“Our business, more than a lot of businesses, wouldn’t have been possible, 5 – 6 years ago.”
“We were trying to replace cash payments with automated digital payments.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘There was a huge amount of inefficiency in microfinance at the time.’ Cameron Goldie-Scot of @MusoniSystem“]
“The moment you’ve solved one area of inefficiency, then you naturally start looking where the next bottleneck might be.”
“We were approached by lots of other microfinance organizations who’d heard about the in-house technology that we’d built and wanted to do something similar.”
“It got me thinking a little bit more that there was a relatively low-risk way in which we could take an idea, like spinning off a software company, and start testing it in very small iterations.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We now provide software to 50 different microfinance organizations.’ Cameron Goldie-Scot of @MusoniSystem“]
“All across Africa, the majority of the unbanked don’t tend to live in concentrated urban areas.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We indirectly serve about 250,000 end customers.’ Cameron Goldie-Scot of @MusoniSystem”]
“When we hit the quarter of a million mark in just two years, that was a huge milestone for us.”
“You’ve got to look for [investors] who will buy into the idea, the team and the founders.”
“Having someone next to you when you’re taking the big decisions or brainstorming on strategy or holding you to account, has been invaluable.”
“The sooner you can learn to separate your personal daily mood from the success of the business, the better.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Musoni Services: http://musonisystem.com
- Careers: http://musonisystem.com/careers
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/MusoniSystem
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/5018950
- Culture Shift Learning Academy waiting list: http://tonyloyd.com/assessment
Culture Shift Learning Academy
Later in June we will be launching a Beta version of Culture Shift Learning Academy, a comprehensive system to help you flesh out your social impact idea and start achieving it.
Enrollment isn’t open yet, but you can join the waiting list with other changemakers. Just go to http://tonyloyd.com/assessment and enter your email address. As a thank you, I’ll send you the Social Entrepreneur Startup Readiness Assessment. This useful tool is designed to help you to determine where you are on your startup journey and to successfully focus your development efforts.