FridgeWaves provides microloans through appliance rentals

A Whitewater-based company has a global focus through its mission of providing microloans to needy individuals abroad.
FridgeWaves, started by University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students Mehul Kar and David Quintero, raises money for the loans by renting refrigerators to international students attending the college.
“Our goal is to connect the international students with an international borrower,” Kar said. “I think one day it just clicked and the combination of the two where we could provide a service for people and be socially responsible … we just decided to run with it.”
The business partners are both permanent residents with international ties. They were interested in helping very poor individuals with small loans, so Kar and Quintero decided to focus on international microfinance.
The company started operations in September 2010 and was able to make two loans last year through third party microlenders like Kiva.org and Wokai.org. A father in Dingziqiao, China, received a $616 loan from FridgeWaves, while a mother in Chifeng City, China, borrowed $462, both to pay for their children’s education.
FridgeWaves gets paid back, but without interest. The bank that administers the loan for the company collects the interest.
The company has recently expanded to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus in Kenosha, and Kar, who graduated in May 2010, hopes to bring it to five to seven more college campuses in the next year.
“We’re planning on renting out anywhere from 75 to 80 percent of all the revenue we collect,” he said. “A little bit of money from us can significantly impact someone’s life and that’s what we’re in the business for.”

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