Thursday, September 24, 2020

Omidyar Network India Announces ‘Digital Society Challenge’ Aimed at Innovators Addressing Online Risks

Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focused on social impact, today announced a call for proposals for innovations to help Indians cope better with online risks. The program will fund the most creative and scalable proposals aimed at the next half billion (NHB), i.e. the 500m low and lower-middle-income Indians coming online between 2017 and 2022.

Shilpa Kumar, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network India, said “India is digitizing rapidly, especially since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. The internet helps us address the development needs of the country faster, better, and cheaper. To consolidate these gains, we need better privacy, protection from cybercrimes, recourse from frauds, and authentic information online. Such efforts will help build individual trust and pave the way for India’s digital deepening. This is why we are launching the Digital Society Challenge to support entrepreneurs in tackling this issue through creative and innovative ideas.”

What type of innovations will be considered?

The challenge will shortlist tech and non-tech innovations that directly impact individuals, especially, the NHB. e.g. apps or digital training programs for users and data management platforms for non-profit organizations. 

The challenge is sector agnostic as long as the solution addresses one or more online risks such as privacy, cybersecurity, misinformation, or digital exclusion of vulnerable groups (e.g. elderly, disabled). The innovation can be at any stage right from being a concept to a minimum viable product or a locally-implemented solution and even scaled-up innovation.

Who can apply?

The challenge is inviting proposals from three categories of applicants. Start-ups can apply for equity investments, and non-profits can apply for grants to undertake projects or strengthen their organizations. Organizations that provide services to clients can also apply for service contracts to execute their ideas.

Selection Criteria: 

Reach – the solution should reach and empower a large segment of Indians, especially those in the NHB

Depth of Impact – the solution should have a deep impact on the lives it touches

Innovation – the solution should have either tech or non-tech innovation that meaningfully strengthens online safety 

Application Timelines:

The call for proposals will end on 23 October 2020. The shortlisting of applicants will happen on a rolling basis, and applicants are therefore advised to apply early.

Where to Apply: 

More details and the application form can be found on 

About Omidyar Network India

Omidyar Network India invests in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, especially the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower-middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class. To drive empowerment and social impact at scale, we work with entrepreneurs in the private, non-profit, and public sectors, who are tackling India’s hardest and most chronic problems. We make equity investments in early-stage enterprises and provide grants to nonprofits in the areas of Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. Omidyar Network India is part of The Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of companies, organizations, and initiatives, supported by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.

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