Kiva President Says FarmVille Is His Biggest Rival

Should lending money to micro-enterprises around the world be like playing a game? Kiva's CEO wants it to be like playing Farmville on Facebook.

Kiva is a darling of the micro-lending industry right now for being the first major site to use the internet to let average Americans loan money to micro-entrepreneurs in the developing world, in the process un-tapping a new source of capital for anti-poverty investment. So, why does a fast growing organization like Kiva consider their biggest rival to be Zynga, a maker of Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars?

For one, I'm not sure I totally buy it. A CEO telling us what he considers the biggest threat is like a job applicant confessing their greatest weakness. Still, CEO Premal Shah is clearly seeing competition for world-changing donations from idle-time-killing online games. If donating to a budding third-world entrepreneur is as easy as buying more fertilizer for your virtual farm, that's when it's easy enough to really take off.

How easy should it be to help the world? Watch Premal Shah muse on the topic with Tech Crunch's Evelyn Rusli.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post misspelled Premal Shah. Thanks for the correction @kieranball and Tanuj Parikh.