A widely touted statistic is that over 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 a day at the so called "bottom of the economic pyramid." The majority of these individuals at the bottom of the pyramid are excluded from the global economy and operate in local informal economies. The goal of microfinance is to alleviate poverty within these bottom of the pyramid individuals by providing them access to financial services that will enable them to better their economic well-being and empower them to be improve their quality of life. If microfinance achieves this goal, the implication equals a real opportunity for individuals at the bottom of the pyramid to pull themselves out of poverty through access of previously unattainable financial resources. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of microfinance at alleviating poverty. This analysis will provide the history and evolution of microfinance, and closely examining three microfinance institutions; Kiva, Namaste Direct, and Accion, with respect to their model, target segments, services offered, and their potential for poverty alleviation. Closely examining the three microfinance institutions brought to the forefront three major conclusions. First, in evaluating the success of the impact of microfinance, broader definitions of success in alleviating poverty need to be considered. Second, different types of institutions have emerged in microfinance resulting in an ecosystem, represented in Figure 18, which is making significant impact on poverty alleviation. Finally, each of these institutions needs to be evaluated using measures of effectiveness based on their specific role within the ecosystem.