In July 2010, Univicity got involved with the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI), a USAID/HIFIVE grant initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The HMMI was designed to motivate Haiti’s carriers to implement a Kenya Safaricom MPESA-style mobile money platform. M-PESA allows Safaricom’s customers to make mobile payments (cash-in, cash-out, P2P transfers, etc.) using their mobile phones.
The Haiti Mobile Money Initiative contest was in two phases:
- First-to-market. Haiti’s first mobile carrier to achieve 10,000 transactions (100 agents, in 100 locations doing 100 cash-in/cash-out transaction each).
- Scale-up phase. An 18-month contest that rewards mobile payment transactions. The scale-up phase begins after the first-to-market prize has been awarded.
Mark Smith worked with Transversal, a Haitian IT company, to assist Digicel Haiti in competing for the first to market prize. On January 10, 2011, the first-to-market prize was awarded to Digicel. Tranversal was officially recognized by Digicel’s CEO, Maarten Boute, as helping Digicel achieve the first-to-market goal.
The other Haiti mobile carrier, Voila, won the second-to-market prize in June 2011.
Transversal continues to play a major role in Haiti’s mobile money initiative through it’s innovative MerchantPro platform that is currently being used by UNDP, CARE and CRS to manage their electronic voucher programs in Haiti.
- Plugging into Mobile Money Platforms: Early experiences of NGO’s in the field (Haiti Mobile Money Initiative
- Mobile Money in Haiti: Strategies for a multi-competitor, multi-industry market
- Gates Foundation prize announcement
- News about Haiti Mobile Money Initiative
- Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion – Haiti Blog
- Designing Mobile Money Services: Lessons from M-PESA
- The Economics of Branchless Banking