DEVELOPMENT INNOVATION VENTURES
DIGEST
May 2021
An Ampersand electric motorcycle taxi driver and passenger get ready for a ride in Rwanda. Credit: Ampersand
DIV Stands with the People of India
India faces an unprecedented crisis as a second wave of COVID-19 infections affect millions across the country. The staff and clients of many DIV partners, as well as our USAID colleagues in India, are among those suffering and vulnerable, and they are in our hearts and minds. DIV will continue to work closely with our grantees to respond to this crisis.
DIV Welcomes Administrator Power to USAID
On Monday, May 3, Ambassador Samantha Power was sworn in as the 19th Administrator of USAID. DIV welcomes Administrator Power and looks forward to her leadership. View Ambassador Power’s welcome remarks.
DIV’s Portfolio Achieves 17:1 Social Rate of Return
Forthcoming research led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Kremer suggests that DIV’s early portfolio yielded at least $17 in social benefit for every dollar of U.S. taxpayer money spent. The research team’s analysis looks at a subset of DIV’s innovations from 2010-2012. This research, which uses updated impact estimates and captures a wider array of benefits, supports an evidence-based approach to development and helps USAID better communicate its impact. Read more.
Innovation in Development Policy: Maximizing Impact and Results
On April 16, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact subcommittee met to discuss the role and importance of innovation in U.S. Development Policy.

Smart approaches to supporting innovation enable funders—including programs like DIV— to efficiently use taxpayer dollars by making many small investments to find out what works, and then invest more in proven solutions to global development challenges, rather than investing large amounts in projects that may not be effective.

“Programs like DIV, which was pioneered by Nobel Prize winning economist Michael Kremer, yield over 17 dollars in social benefits for every one dollar invested…,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, who chaired the meeting. “It's essential that work like this at USAID and in our foreign assistance agencies continues and that our capabilities for innovation, working with allies, and helping people's lives are strengthened." Watch the testimony.

Read the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s coverage of the event in “The Impact of Innovation: Maximizing Effectiveness and Scaling Results in Global Development.”
DIV Increases Maximum Grant Amount to $15 Million
On April 1, 2021, DIV amended its Annual Program Statement (APS), which is its call for grant funding, to increase the maximum grant amount for Stage 3 innovations from $5 million to $15 million. Stage 3 grants support proven innovations as they transition to scale to more people and/or large geographic areas. To be eligible for a Stage 3 grant, applicants must have demonstrated evidence of commercial viability or rigorous evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and additional external co-funding or partnerships. Over ten years, DIV has made eight Stage 3 grant awards.

The amendment also extends DIV’s current APS until September 30, 2021.
DIV PORTFOLIO
DIV INNOVATOR SPOTLIGHT
Ampersand Closes $3.5 Million Series A Funding
Ampersand, a 2020 DIV Stage 2 grantee, secures private investment in electric mobility. As covered in Bloomberg, CleanTechnica, TechCabal, and other news outlets, Ampersand raised $3.5 million in follow-on funding from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF).

“The deal is the largest ever e-mobility investment by a venture capital fund in sub-Saharan Africa and marks a turning point in global electric transport. The fact that the electric motorcycle industry in east Africa is starting to attract significant amounts of investment shows that the industry is now moving to the next level after a period of pilots across east Africa from several startups.” (CleanTechnica, April 8, 2021).
DIV IS HIRING!
DIV seeks a Program Analyst I in a full-time position that will be fully integrated into the DIV team. This person will contribute to DIV's due diligence of grant applicants, provide technical support to a portfolio of DIV innovators, and help DIV improve in a number of strategic areas. Learn more.
RESOURCES AND EVENTS
DIV Information Session in Spanish

In March, USAID/Paraguay hosted a DIV information session in Spanish. DIV staff provided an overview of the program and answered live questions from across the Latin American Region.
Sankalp Africa
In February and March, the Sankalp Africa Summit featured DIV in two sessions. At an information session that has been viewed more than 18,000 times, DIV provided a program overview and answered frequently asked questions. The second session, a Pitch Simulation viewed by more than 53,000 people, featured four entrepreneurs who pitched their innovations to a panel of former DIV staff and Godfrey Mwindaare from Aavishkaar Capital, who then gave feedback. The members of the judging panel are not currently affiliated with DIV, and their feedback has no bearing on future DIV decisions. 
DIV is accepting applications. Visit www.usaid.gov/div to learn more and apply!