U.S., UK, Sweden, and Australia Launch New $200 Million Global Innovation Fund in Partnership with Omidyar Network

New Fund Models a Venture Capital Approach to Solving Global Development Challenges

NEW YORK, NY – The United States, United Kingdom, Swedish, and Australian Governments, in partnership with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, announced today the launch of a new $200 million Global Innovation Fund (GIF) headquartered in London at the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Countdown event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Speaking together, UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah outlined the ambitious global vision and scope of the new Fund, which will invest in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world. The Global Innovation Fund uses a venture capital-like approach to investing in a wide range of social innovations, drawing on the success of the industry to discover and support innovative ventures that have the potential to scale across the developing world.

Joining Justine Greening and Administrator Shah at the event were the Fund’s three additional financial partners: Managing Partner at Omidyar Network Matt Bannick, Director-General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Together, the five partners announced a total financial commitment of more than $200 million.

“We must find and invest in more effective, faster and more efficient ways of ending aid dependency,” said Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development. “The Global Innovation Fund is now open for business and can support ambitious ideas to transform lives in some of the poorest countries in the world. As we work towards a new set of post-2015 development goals, fresh thinking and new ideas will be critical to ending extreme poverty for good.”

With strong political and financial backing from all founding partners, the Global Innovation Fund seeks ambitious ideas to solve global development challenges in any sector that demonstrates promise to scale commercially and ultimately reach millions of people. Through grants, loans and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million, the Global Innovation Fund offers three stages of financing to pilot, test and scale innovations, with the largest funding amounts reserved for innovations that can demonstrate evidence of success and potential to spread across multiple developing countries.

“The Global Innovation Fund is a historic commitment by five of the most dynamic leaders in global development, aimed to invest in cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “It will mobilize unprecedented resources to support innovations that help the world’s most vulnerable people break the cycle of extreme poverty.”

Operating as a non-profit innovation fund, the Global Innovation Fund is open for business and currently seeking great ideas from a wide range of potential partners, including social enterprises, for-profit firms, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and others. For more information and to apply, please visit www.globalinnovation.fund.

“The Global Innovation Fund is a big step forward for impact investing and international development,” said Matt Bannick, managing partner of Omidyar Network. “As a global, multi-partner NGO, GIF will be able to glean best practices and lessons-learned from promising innovations all over the world and bring them to scale through flexible financing, including private, government and philanthropic capital.” 

”The Global Innovation Fund is in itself innovative since the approach is broad, which gives it a possibility to open up for ideas in any sector and issues – like gender equality and human rights. The partnership with the U.S., UK, Australia and Omidyar Network is one fantastic way to move forward to end extreme poverty,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, SIDA Director-General.

“Australia is placing innovation at the centre of our aid program” said Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. “I am pleased that Australia is a founding partner of the Global Innovation Fund being launched today. The Fund’s work to support new approaches will be a powerful and hopefully unstoppable force to encourage economic growth and battle poverty around the globe.”