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The ReSolve Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions

22nd July 2020
The ReSolve Initiative: Frequently Asked Questions
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1. What is Omidyar Network India’s ReSolve Initiative?

Our ReSolve Initiative is the second phase of our response to Covid-19 where we’re seeking to build a portfolio of lighthouse investments. You can read more about why and how we plan to invest here.

Under the ReSolve initiative, we have prioritised two longstanding themes that have got renewed focus due to the pandemic: (a) Supporting migrant workers; and (b) Empowering Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The initiative will look to entrepreneurs, thought leaders and policy makers to come together to reframe and resolve the issues plaguing these areas.

2. What type and size of projects will Omidyar Network India be funding under the ReSolve Initiative?

Over the next 12-18 months, our goal will be to support and fund a few high-leverage lighthouse investments that can contribute to the transformation agenda in the areas of empowering MSMEs and supporting migrant workers. We define “lighthouse investments” as those that can ‘show the light’ to the sector. These could include seeding of new institutions or solutions and supporting investments with large demonstration effects.

The type of investments we would seek to initiate (or join coalitions of funding efforts) would include:

  1. New for-profit/ non-profit ventures with unique solutions
  2. Experiments with solutions that have not been tried before 
  3. Seeding new properties like marquee surveys, databases etc
  4. Strengthening institutions, mechanisms, market infrastructure
  5. Creating digital infrastructure and ecosystems

3. What are the focus areas within the two identified themes that Omidyar Network India will be funding?

As part of the empowering MSME theme, we will look to invest in the following areas:

1: Amplifying the voice of MSMEs: High-quality data systems that capture MSME pain points, financial and operational health, and channel this into feedback loops for necessary industry action and policy interventions.

2: Stimulating capital in a risk-averse environment: Initiatives that look to build sector infrastructure to solve systemic challenges – dearth of wholesale finance, lack of risk capital, lack of sufficient data –  that would lead to substantial benefits for the MSME sector in the form of better access to cheaper capital.

3: Promoting digital infrastructure for MSMEs: Digital building blocks, platforms and ecosystems that address key problems the sector faces, like access to credit & government services, compliance and access to markets.

4. Pilot projects at a cluster or state level to seed system-level innovations: Sandbox/viable pilot solutions that aim to reimagine the business environment for MSMEs by seeding system-level innovations.

As part of the supporting migrant workers theme, we will look to invest in the following areas:

1: Evidence based narratives to inform public and policy: Amplifying data, research and evidence backed narratives, to make the scale and nature of the migrants’ problem more visible. This can support more informed public discourse, program design and policymaking.

2:  Pilot projects in ethical employment practices, worker welfare, safety nets and inter-state collaboration:  Sandbox/ viable pilot solutions to support adoption of ethical employment practices and improve access to welfare and safety nets. These are often unique challenges that migrants face in cities. Projects could also include enhancing coordination of migration support efforts between states. 

3: ‘Ease of living’ for migrant workers: access to housing and civic services: Innovative models of housing and access to essential services (civic amenities) for migrant communities. This will lead to better economic, social and health outcomes and integration into our cities.

4. Are you looking only to fund new ideas or will you also consider ongoing efforts?

Under the ReSolve Initiative, we will look to seed new solutions, properties, digital infrastructure and ecosystems as well as support and strengthen existing institutions, mechanisms and market infrastructure plays that are looking at new ways to solve issues in the areas mentioned above (see Q3 above).

5. How much is Omidyar Network India investing in this initiative?

Omidyar Network India is not creating a separate corpus for the ReSolve Initiative. Overall, we plan to invest $300 million through a mix of equity investments and grants in India over a 5 year horizon. We therefore do not expect funding availability to be a constraint for the ReSolve Initiative and are willing to do what is needed to help overcome the current crisis. Our focus is really on the impact our investments will be able to create. The amount deployed under the ReSolve initiative will depend on the ideas from entrepreneurs, researchers, think tanks and policy makers that will reimagine solutions and, in that sense, re-solve these problem areas over the next 12-18 months. Hence, our preference would be to selectively fund projects in the range of Rs 3.75 crore ($500,000) to Rs 15 crore ($2 million) per project.

6. How will Omidyar Network India source ideas and proposals for the initiative?

The ReSolve Initiative investment team will deploy multiple ways to reach out to potential investees and grantees including, but not limited to, calls for applications, challenges and outreach through our networks.

If you believe your idea is suitable for the ReSolve Initiative and matches the criteria set out above, you are welcome to send us a proposal by mailing us at [email protected] and our team will review it. However, please note that we will be unable to respond to individual queries on the initiative and will be unable to provide feedback to individual proposals that do not get funded.

7. Is this open only to FCRA organisations?

Omidyar Network India makes equity investments and provides grants. As far as grants are concerned, Omidyar Network India can only agree to fund organisations that have FCRA clearance.

8. Is Omidyar Network India open to partnering with other funders, investors and coalitions on this initiative?

In both areas – empowering MSMEs and supporting migrant workers – we are keen to work in partnership with other investors and funders. We are also interested in engaging with coalitions of organizations working in these areas, especially those with complementary capabilities.