Vanderes invests in Lumni’s Fondo Talento II in Colombia

On the 29th of June 2018, the board agreed to invest US$100K in Fondo Talento II, the second Colombian fund of ISA pioneer Lumni. It took us until today, the 17th of May 2019, to finalize this process. Investing in a country that has been war-torn for decades due to the international drug trade, proved challenging. But we are happy to announce we can now call the dinosaur amongst the ISA (Income Share Agreement) providers, our partner.

Lumni has been active for over a decade in Latin America providing student financing to underprivileged students. They were the first to apply the ISA model, where students are not applying for a loan, but agree on paying a proportion of their future loan for a certain amount of months upon graduation and landing a job. This way, students will not face the burden of a huge loan while being unemployed or on a low salary.

With the popularization of ISA’s in the USA, new discussions have sparked international media. The Vanderes Foundation is following these closely and recognizes the downsides ISA’s could potentially have on both students that qualify for an ISA as well as those who do not, and therefore depend on public resources. For now, we believe that -especially when it comes to developing countries- the advantages of ISA’s outweigh the potential disadvantages.

Both Lumni and its founder and global CEO Felipe Vergara have been awarded many times for their successes by globally recognized institutions like the World Economic Forum. Lumni is currently active in Peru, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and recently expanded into the USA (focusing on underprivileged students). The Vanderes Foundation invested in the Fondo Talento II in Colombia which backs 450 students.

We are really excited to bring this experienced team on board as one of our partners and connect them to our wider network. We feel they can share a lot of knowledge with our more early-stage partner companies. Lastly, we like to diversify and widen the geographic reach of the foundation.

2018 Zomia Portfolio Summary

The Zomia team prepared their first portfolio summary for the Vanderes Foundation. The metrics gathered are a great start to track the student’s paths towards (hopefully) a brighter future. Obviously it would be best to measure impact by comparing results to a (randomized) control group, but we understand that (all our) partners are very early-stage in their journey and have limited resources to measure impact. We therefore greatly value the efforts by the small Zomia team to prioritize impact measurement to make sure they are on the right path. Please see an extract of the report here: 2018 Annual Report Zomia.

Dear Vanderes Foundation,

2018 was a big year for Zomia, and Vanderes was at the heart of it. So right at the outset, we’d like to thank you for your support and trust in us. The funding provided by Vanderes allowed us to nearly triple our annual class size and focus on what we do best: providing a great experience to students and building the infrastructure required to support them through their higher education and loan repayment journeys.

With this inaugural report, we set out to achieve two goals: 1) provide a snapshot of the Vanderes Foundation’s Zomia portfolio as it existed between January 1st and December 31st, 2018; and 2) begin tracking metrics that will—over time—help us better evaluate and understand the impact that higher education has on the lives of Zomia students.

We see this document as a baseline from which to build—a report that should become more robust and informative over time. We gladly welcome feedback, especially regarding the metrics that matter to Vanderes and content you’d like to see in future reports.


Finally, it’s worth noting that the bulk of Vanderes’ funding was distributed to students halfway through the year, affecting statistics such as the average monthly repayment. We’ll have a full year’s worth of data in 2019.

On behalf of our team and students, thank you again for your consistent encouragement and backing. We cannot do this alone, and we’re truly grateful for our partnership with the Vanderes Foundation.


Kirk Acevedo & Ryker Labbee

Co-founders, Zomia SPC

March 1, 2019

Vanderes Foundation partners with FISA company Brighter Investment

Half September the Vanderes Foundation provided debt capital to North American based Brighter Investment. This mission-driven social enterprise provides investors with the opportunity to back future engineers, doctors and scientists in developing countries. Brighter Investment is currently operating in Ghana. Expansion plans will most likely focus initially on the African continent.

It’s Vanderes’ first partnership with a company using the FISA (future income share agreement) model. Following this model, students don’t get a loan, but agree on repayment of a fixed percentage of their future income for a limited duration (typically 25% for 6 years) after graduation. This means students will never deal with accumulated interest or the risk of repayment-challenges when they are out of a job or in a low-paying job. Since Brighter Investment invests in diversified cohorts of the most talented students that pursue degrees with great career prospects, it can still provide its investors with an attractive return. Early in the financial year, the Vanderes Foundation donates any excess returns earned in the preceding financial year to organizations, projects or causes that improve the quality of and access to education.

Read more about Brighter Investment here!

The Vanderes Foundation Continuously Invests in Improving Access to Education, This Time in Indonesia’s Leading Education Financing Platform DANAdidik

  • The Vanderes Foundation’s (“Vanderes”) mission is to improve (access to) quality education, The foundation tends to focus on lower GDP countries.
  • Fintech startup (“DANAdidik”) funds underprivileged and low-income Indonesian college students to finish their study.

Jakarta, 21 August 2018 – Vanderes and DANAdidik today announced their partnership to continuously improve the lives of underprivileged Indonesian students through higher education financing. Vanderes will invest in Indonesian students’ education through DANAdidik.

In Indonesia, Participation Rate (PR) of higher education is still at 20 percent[1], way below its neighboring countries, Malaysia and Singapore. With limited government support in higher education access and limited education financing available in the market, Indonesian students and parents are left without options.

Vanderes is set out to improve the access to quality education. In their first year, they’ve supported three student loan providers in Southeast Asia. In the same breath with DANAdidik, Vanderes believes that education is the main path to permanently escape poverty, as it transcends generations, with educated parents being more likely to provide for (even better) education for their children.

DANAdidik is the first student loan provider in Indonesia using income-sharing repayments after marginalized college students graduate and gain employment. This unique repayment system allows lending to unbanked students.

The partnership between DANAdidik and the Vanderes Foundation marks an important milestone in Indonesia’s student loan market. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been pushing local commercial banks to provide student loans in March early this year. While traditional banks have not been receptive, fintech startups such as DANAdidik are leading the way.

 About Vanderes Foundation |

The Vanderes Foundation is a Dutch certified Public Benefit Organisation (PBO, better known as ANBI in the Netherlands). It was founded in May 2017 by Izak van der Sluijs to improve the quality of, and access to education around the globe, through making impact investments and providing loans.

About DANAdidik |

DANAdidik is a crowdfunding platform for student loans in Indonesia, focusing on vocational studies. True to its mission, DANAdidik has been serving the marginalized: a majority of the students are from low-income families, orphans or raised by a  single parent. There is also a majority of women amongst the beneficiaries. DANAdidik has funded hundreds of students across Indonesia, from Sumatra to Java and Bali to Kalimantan.

Contact Us

Vanderes Foundation

Mirte Gosker                  :


Dara Nanda Vitera        : +62 856 9325 6265        |

Dipo Ramli                         : +62 815 1053 2844         |

[1] Central Agency on Statistics Indonesia (BPS)

We were honoured with the Investor Award and received this certificate of appreciation by InvestEd. We are truly grateful to be able to support the InvestEd team with their goal to reduce the student drop-out rate in the Philippines by half in 5 years time. Go InvestEd!

Vanderes Foundation and InvestEd team up to Provide 3.1M Pesos Funding to Marginalized Students in a Time of Need

  • In the Philippines, 73% of employers are only hiring college graduates, even after the K12 implementation (, 2018). 
  • InvestEd helps unbanked students finish university through its high-tech student loan program.
  • Vanderes Foundation makes its first impact investment in the Philippines.

PHILIPPINES, JULY 2018— InvestEd, a home-grown startup in the Philippines, provides marginalized college students loan products that are exactly fit for their needs, payable only after they graduate and gain employment. This includes loans for tuition, daily allowance, dormitory, projects, vocational study, laptops, and licensure exams. By 2022, InvestEd aims to slash the college dropout rate in half by reaching a total of 300,000 students.

The Vanderes Foundation was set out to improve the access to quality education. In their first year of existence, they’ve been able to support three student loan providers in Southeast Asia. Through them, Vanderes provides underprivileged students with the opportunity to change their lives for the better. These students are often the first ones in their families to go to university and get a degree. The Foundation believes that those degrees are not solemnly the key to a more fulfilling life for the students themselves, but also for their families and especially their future children.

“InvestEd has an ambitious plan; reducing the number of Filipino youngsters that can’t finish their studies due to financial shortcomings in five years’ time. We are very proud to support this goal with our partnership and will help them succeed wherever we can.”

Enrollment Season in the Philippines: A Difficult Time for Low-Income Students

A big part of Vanderes Foundation’s capital will be used to fund vulnerable students during this year’s enrollment season. Just last month, InvestEd was overwhelmed with hundreds of loan applications—most of these came from students who do not have the money for tuition fees and daily allowance to continue their education.

Carmina Bayombong, InvestEd’s CEO said: “One question I always get, is why education loans are still needed even after the free tuition bill. I think our government’s efforts to make education more equitable is promising. However, there are still many dropouts at the public schools, due to insufficient funds for daily allowance. Even before the free tuition bill, we got public school students saying that their primary funding needs are daily food and transportation allowance.

Besides that, what we have to remember is that free tuition is only implemented in public schools and only 12% of our higher education institutions are public. This means millions of students are still not affected by the free tuition loan bill. Many low-income students end up in private schools just because they did not make the capacity cut-offs in public schools. This leads to a total annual dropout of around 600,000 college students due to financial difficulties.”

A Scalable Student Loan Program for Developing Countries

InvestEd uses a unique credit scoring and verification system in order to make lending possible to unbanked students. This allows them to identify creditworthy and quality students at the application stage, in less than 15 minutes with the use of both non-traditional and traditional data analytics. Currently, InvestEd has a 100% repayment rate from its graduated borrowers.

To attract loan capital to fund students, InvestEd allows individuals, corporations and foundations to lend to students in return for fixed annual earnings. Funds provided by lenders are managed by InvestEd to ensure the spread of risk, return and growth of capital. To-date lenders have loaned a total of 7M pesos at InvestEd.

To ensure that their student borrowers succeed in employment and repayment, InvestEd has a Borrower Success Program. The program includes training and coaching in employment and financial literacy. In 2017, InvestEd’s pilot group of students achieved a job placement rate of 33 days compared to the national average of 180 days.

To-date, InvestEd with the help of its lenders, has loaned out almost 4 million pesos to students across five regions, namely Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Bicol. True to its mission, InvestEd has been serving the marginalized: 22% of InvestEd’s students previously dropped out of college before getting an InvestEd loan; 43% got loans from predatory lenders before InvestEd, while 90% were unbanked or had no access to formal financial services before InvestEd. InvestEd is also empowering more women to succeed, with 61% of its student borrowers being female. These include women who have dropped out before due to motherhood and women entrepreneurs who have been sustaining their education through micro businesses.

Mirte Gosker, Chair of Vanderes Foundation shares, “What I personally really like at InvestEd, is that it was started by two young women. There is still a huge gap in gender equality in the world and men are overrepresented in governments, boards and also amongst startup founders. I’ve come across many courageous Filipino women and truly admire their strength. I’m looking forward to see Carmina and Melissa succeed in their cause and become role-models for women across the world to fix those things that need fixing.”


More College = Less Poverty: The Impact of Peer-to-Peer Lending

Source: This piece written by Zomia co-founders Ryker and Kirk, was published on the website of the NextBillion on the 16th of May 2018.


Editor’s note: This post is part of NextBillion’s series, “Startup Showcase” — one of several topic areas we’ll be covering through special series this year. Click here for more details on our 2018 series.

How many students could be in college, but aren’t? As education lenders, we find ourselves periodically obsessed with this question. The answer has become a topic of research because, as we’ve learned, it’s difficult to calculate.

You can see here how we’ve pulled together datasets to calculate a rough figure. We used the “Barro-Lee Educational Attainment” dataset, a robust database also used by the World Bank for global education statistics. Though the margin of error is high – some countries are missing, and data provided by governments are often misreported or questionable – the numbers help to define the scope and understand the size of this market.

What we’ve concluded is this: More than 57 million students globally are qualified and, for whatever reason, have not enrolled in a higher education program or finished their degrees. In Myanmar and Cambodia, where we work, nearly 1 million students fall into this category.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the costs associated with higher education are often the reason why a student might drop out or never enroll. A family that can afford tuition might be unable to afford the cost of living in a city, where the best schools tend to be. And even if tuition and cost of living are both affordable, the quality of education is often dubious, as is still the case with higher education in Myanmar.

Scholarships to quality institutions are helpful but limited: Government loan schemes for Myanmar and Cambodian citizens don’t exist, though comments from the education minister suggest a government-sponsored education loan program is in the works in Cambodia.

Some financial institutions offer education loans — for example, CB Bank and AYA in Myanmar, and ACLEDA and Kredit in Cambodia — but they are notoriously hard to obtain (for students) and hard to sell (for loan officers). In general, banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) see student loans as too risky and long-term. The students’ earning potential is unknown, the loans are repaid over a long period of time, and students don’t have collateral. Meanwhile, to students, the loans seem unfriendly and intimidating. The banks often charge high interest, mandate fast repayment, or require collateral or co-signers with collateral.


That’s why Zomia is trying to make higher education financing sustainable and attractive in low-income countries. Our approach is probably most similar to peer-to-peer lenders like Lending Club and Prosper. Students apply for loans directly through our website. Lenders – both individuals and institutions – then purchase portions of the loans on the site. When students repay, the repayments are allocated proportionally to their supporters, the lenders.

This means that access to funding for students is now independent of their location. Whereas before they might have needed to show up in person at an MFI or bank (or have a field officer visit them), now they only need a computer and decent internet connection. Both of these are increasingly feasible expectations in Myanmar and Cambodia. Operationally, this almost eliminates the need for loan officers and financial centers in the field.

On our website, the Zomia Student Roster allows lenders to discover and support students of their choice. And because Zomia is the only intermediary between lenders and students, a sense of community is possible. Lenders can send supportive messages to students, and students can respond with thanks and well wishes.


Perhaps the single, largest challenge we have to overcome is dealing with the long-term nature of repayments. We have informally observed through their actions in repayment that Zomia students value flexibility in repayments over the accumulation of interest. Life events — getting married, hospital visits, buying a home, paying other debts, pursuing advanced degrees, etc. — are inevitable, and students need to take periodic breaks from repayment. This complicates cash flow for us and for lenders, but it’s also a core benefit to students. When you tell students they can take a break over the course of their years-long repayment period, self-financing an education starts to look realistic.

However, this presents a challenge of the funding side: Long-term repayments necessitate patient capital. Our best estimates suggest that students will take six to eight years to fully repay their loans, depending on students’ family size, incomes and how many deferments they take. This is an unattractive proposition for mainstream lenders because it freezes their capital for a relatively long period of time. Fortunately, these funders do exist. Vanderes Foundation, for example, became our first institutional lender because it believes that education is the best way to escape poverty, even if that means waiting a longer time to receive repayment.

One big challenge on the student side of our model is accepting first-year bachelor’s degree students. They simply don’t perform well in our due diligence process. Despite demonstrating great potential, unless these students have significant outside support (scholarships, family funding, etc.) they will accumulate a mountain of debt by the time they finish college. For this reason, we’d rather deny a first-year student without any existing support than saddle them with debt they’ll never fully repay. One approach we’ve taken with some success is to partner with a charity or NGO (like BEAM in Thailand) to provide partial scholarships combined with partial loans. This funding mix allows us to reach more students and lets us feel more comfortable about the students’ total loan amounts.


The upshot to offering student loans is that we have years to collect data and measure impact. Having started formally lending in 2014, we’re still a very young company. But among our graduates, the impact of higher education is becoming clearer.

Take incomes, for example. Because our loan repayments are based on income, we track our students’ earnings after graduation. One benchmark we look at is whether students are earning more than 300 percent above the international poverty line of $1.90/day, which is an appropriate threshold in Myanmar and Cambodia. This is an indication that they have entered the “middle class.” In real terms, a student who earns more than $171/month would be considered in this bracket in Myanmar and Cambodia. Currently, 88 percent of Zomia graduates (22/25) earn more than this – and by a lot. At $488/month, the average Zomia student is earning nearly 850 percent above the poverty line. Of the three students who fall below the 300 percent threshold, two are unemployed and one is temporarily volunteering at a monastery in her hometown so she can take care of her father, who is critically ill.

Most exciting though is the ripple effects of higher education we’ll witness in the decades to come. Of the 77 students we’ve supported so far, two-thirds grew up in rural areas, four-fifths drew water from natural sources (rivers, streams, or personal or community wells), and over half of their parents never made it into high school. Today, Zomia students are college graduates from internationally accredited universities. They are savvy, working professionals. They are saving money and sending some home. Poverty is becoming a distant memory if it isn’t already. Most of our students are first-generation college students, but that will not be true for their children and grandchildren.

This is the magic of education: It’s a huge investment and a long journey, but when we talk about “impact,” education is the rising tide that lifts all boats.

For our part, we’re trying to open a million-person higher education market in Myanmar and Cambodia. The virtual nature of peer-to-peer lending has tremendous potential to lower overhead for lenders and rates for borrowers. But it also requires long-term thinking, patient capital and a lot of upfront tech. We’re committed to tackling these challenges. We believe that if we can scale this model in low-income countries, then we’ll have truly made a difference in increasing access to higher education.

Ryker Labbee and Kirk Acevedo co-founded Zomia, a peer-to-peer lending company that provides higher education loans to students from marginalized communities in Southeast Asia.

Another partnership: Vanderes Foundation invests in Dana Cita

We are happy to announce our first equity investment in student-loan provider Dana Cita. Dana Cita is a purpose driven for-profit enterprise in Indonesia, on a mission to democratize access to higher education in their country. The founders Susli and Naga were selected to join in the world’s leading startup accelerator Y Combinator in the US. After a very successful seed round they are now ready to build out their company.

We were very impressed by Susli and Naga’s profiles and strongly feel they are going to make a huge impact on in Indonesia, a country with a tertiary enrollment ration of less than 30% (compared to for example 49% in Thailand). By providing education loans to the unbanked in Indonesia, Dana Cita can make an enormous change in the lives of many students, trickling down to their future families.

We are happy and proud to be part of their journey and look forward to our collaboration.

Our first partnership: Zomia

We are happy to announce our first multi-year partnership with Zomia, a peer-to-peer lender that connects funders with students from marginalized communities in South East Asia.

We discovered Zomia in the summer of 2017 and first spoke to Ryker and Kirk, the American co-founders of Zomia in September. We were directly taken by their story and enthusiasm with which they founded Zomia in 2014. One of our major concerns though was, how they would grow and become self-sustainable so that their successful model could create a much bigger impact. When we met in Singapore in November, it became clear that the two co-founders were not your regular kind of guys. They were passionate beyond belief, tremendously humble and really put their beneficiaries first. They knew every single student by name and during our discussions, specific life stories and case-studies came up as part of their explanations why they did this or how they would solve that. It strengthened our belief in the team. Once they opened up their laptop to show some of the website’s back-end, Mirte gasped in disbelief. Being active in the startup scene for over 6 years now, she’d never seen a company in their early stages being so extremely professional. She was flabbergasted and knew this was definitely Vanderes material. After many more in-depth discussions with both the Zomia team and the Vanderes board, we decided to support them and provide them funding for direct loans to the students.

The amount meaningfully contributes to their 2018/2019 funding goal, needed to help their targeted students. As the first institutional lender for Zomia, Vanderes will also function as a guinea pig to test the dashboard and see how we can be of help beyond the monetary investment. The repayments of the student loans will be re-lent so that the initial groups of dozens of students supported by the Vanderes Foundation will grow into the hundreds over time. With the strides the team has made over the past months we feel they are well underway towards a fully self-sustainable local team. Without losing their focus on ‘social impact first’ we hope to see them grow so that thousands of marginalized students will get access to education in the next decades.

Looking for partners interested in loans or investments

We’ve been in contact with over 25 organisations who either reached out to us or whom we’ve been actively approaching. But it turns out, it’s not that easy to find qualifying organisations. Most organisations working in education can only accept donations. They can’t accept investments as there are no returns, and for the same reason won’t be able to repay any loans. This is quite understandable as (non private) schools are no businesses, so there is no business model attached. There are however a couple of interesting opportunities within the educational sector:

  1. Social enterprises providing student loans for students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to study. These students will find jobs, earning salaries which allow them to repay their loans (over years).
  2. Social enterprises rolling out high quality education programs in geographies where the current education system is very poor. These enterprises sell their programs to governments, using their returns to invest in growing their social impact.
  3. Social enterprises setting up digital skills or coding schools for young adults who will be able earn high salaries afterwards and therefore pay back their school fees and/or allow for ‘placement fees’ from companies that hire them to be paid to the social enterprise.
  4. Social impact bonds (SIB) -a quite new concept, where foundations,  or commercial businesses pre-pay for projects and get repaid by governments only after the goal is achieved. This way governments only spend for results, where foundations and businesses cover the risk, but get repaid (with interest) if the goal is achieved. For the Vanderes Foundation I can imagine we could pre-fund an NGO rolling out a school chain, backed by the government who will re-pay once the results (think of the cost-savings for a government when a higher percentage of their youth gets education and therefore find better jobs, increase their spending power, reduce criminal behaviour, reduce health costs, etc.) are achieved. You can read more about social impacts bonds on the website of the UNDP.

We currently are in in-depth conversations with an American social purpose organisation providing student loans to marginalized students in Southeast Asia. We hope to be able to announce our first partnership soon.

If you are or know an organisation that would fit our requirements, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the form at the end of this page.