The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is continuing its push to accelerate the adoption of mobile money in the developing world by offering grants to firms that devise ways to capture data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services.
More than 2.5 billion adults around the world, and 59% of those in developing economies, do not have a formal bank account, trapping them in a cash-based economy that "steals away their chance to build a stable future," according to the foundation.
In their annual letter earlier this year, the Gates' made a prediction that mobile will change this, with two billion people who don't now have a bank account storing money and making payment with their phones.
To help make this happen, the foundation is issuing challenges to firms, offering grants for successful applicants. Late last year it called for ideas on making it easy for small merchants to accept mobile money.
The challenge is ongoing and has now been joined by a second: "Develop an innovative technological solution to capture data relating to the delivery and use of digital financial services that is orders of magnitude faster, less costly, higher quality, more reliable, and more transparent/auditable."
Proposals can come in the form of devices, software, or business models. Applications will have to explain how personal information will be protected, and outline how stakeholders would benefit from the data collected. Preference will be given to applications that leverage existing or open-source platforms.
For both challenges, successful bidders will get a $100,000 grant and a shot at a follow-up sum of up to $1 million.