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Stages of funding

A staged funding approach

Why do we have a staged funding approach?

Our goal is to scale innovations backed by rigorous evidence. So every investment we make is designed to support innovations on their path to scale. However, we recognise that some of the promising innovations that will change the development landscape are currently only in their infancy. That’s why we have the flexibility to support innovators from early stage field pilots right through to large scale innovations.

We take a venture capital approach, using a tiered financing model, and offering graduated funding. The goal of our staged funding approach is not to fund small organisations that stay small, and medium-sized interventions that stay medium-sized. It is to support organisations to scale up to reach millions of people.

This staged funding approach also allows us to manage risk sensibly. We are able to take smaller bets on riskier, unproven innovations at the pilot stage, and we are able to invest larger amounts in innovations that have demonstrated strong evidence of success, through rigorous impact evaluations where possible. By meeting the financing needs of innovators from the seed stage right through to expansion funding, We aim to transform high potential ideas into impact at scale.

How it works

How does our staged funding approach work?

A stage is defined by how far an innovation is in its development and by the level of evidence that supports its potential for success. We expect that applicants will be able to demonstrate greater evidence of effectiveness in order to get higher amounts of funding from GIF.

We provide seed capital to support the startup and field-testing of innovations.

The goal of this stage is to refine the basic concept or business model and establish the viability of an innovation at a small scale through testing in real world contexts. This stage could include initial research and development, introducing an innovation to target customers, assessing user demand and willingness to pay, or documenting social outcomes and costs of spreading the innovation.

We value any relevant evidence or research findings that demonstrate why the innovation is needed, such as evidence of customer demand or interest in the innovation, however, we do not expect that strong evidence already exists to prove the value of the innovation.

We support innovations that have already demonstrated success at a small scale.

This stage is for innovators who require support for continued growth and for assessing the likelihood that the innovation can achieve social impact and/or market viability at a larger scale. During this transition period, innovators may require funding to test new business models or to make operational refinements.

During this stage, innovation teams should propose an appropriate strategy to track and rigorously assess social impacts, cost-effectiveness, operational feasibility, and/or commercial viability if relevant. For solutions that will require significant public resources to transition to scale, this stage typically includes rigorous testing of social impact and cost-effectiveness, often through randomised experiments. Funds can also be used to build paths to sustainability and scale.

We support the expansion of innovations that have already demonstrated a strong track record of social impact and effectiveness.

This category of funding helps innovators transition successful approaches to a large scale, usually with the goal of eventually achieving widespread adoption in one or more developing countries. Activities at this stage could include addressing operational challenges for scaling up; working with partners who will help scale the project beyond our support (e.g. investors, existing large commercial firms, developing country governments, etc.); adapting and expanding innovations to different contexts/geographies; or assessing ways to drive cost-effectiveness as the scale continues to increase.

Types of funding

Sustainable, long-term support

For innovations with scaling up pathways that require sustained long-term public or philanthropic support, rigorous evidence of social impact and cost-effectiveness relative to alternative approaches is required at this stage. Innovations scaling up through commercialisation should be able to demonstrate that their innovation has passed a market test, meaning that the innovation is profitable and/or has attracted further growth capital from the market.

Before applying, applicants are asked to review additional information in our frequently asked questions.

Types of financing