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2015 11 10 WS 219 Addressing Funding Challenges Workshop Room 8 FINISHED
 Welcome to the United Nations | Department of Economic and Social Affairs

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in João Pessoa, Brazil, from 10 to 13 November 2015. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record



>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Good morning, all.  Today, we are going to be discussing ‑‑ sorry.  We're discussing about addressing funding challenges for continuous innovation.  This workshop is going to be about that. 

The idea is to talk about the challenges, to talk about the ‑‑ how funding for Internet innovation operates, and the differences between sectors.  And we are going to talk a little bit about ‑‑ explore solutions together.

We have an extremely amazing panel, as you can see. 

I'm going to present the panelists. 

First, we have ‑‑ sorry? 

By remote participation, Jens Karberg. 

He's the Advisor and Program Manager, ICT for Development at SIDA, the Swedish Government. 

And then I'm going to start from the top.

It's Paul Wilson, APNIC CEO.  And he's from the technical community perspective. 

Laurent Elder.  Laurent is an expert in Information and Communication Technology for Development and is a Program Leader for Information and Network Program at the IDRC. 

He's at the Canadian Government view. 

And then we have Vint Cerf here, Vice‑President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google.  So he's going to give us the private sector perspective. 

We are going to start with some opening words from each speaker.  We're going to start with Jens because I think now the remote participation is working. 

So, Jens, if you can listen. 

>> JENS KARBERG:  Yes, I think I can hear you a bit.  You're breaking a bit, but I'm here. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Okay.  Jens, we are going to start with you, if you want to share some views, some words about your perspective. 

>> JENS KARBERG:  Okay. 

So I was presenting on the program especially at ICT for Development.  That's SIDA, which is the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency. 

So we are working with taxpayers' money and I think it's important to start there because that gives us a big responsibility to what we're using our money for.

I'm very happy that we were able to actually connect like this.  I'm really jealous of missing IGF this year.  I've been on the previous four, and I'm really jealous not being in Brazil this year. 

Anyway, I think before starting to drill into details, I think it's important to define what innovation is for SIDA.  For SIDA, it's not just new technology, but it also could be old technology used in another way.  It could also be ‑‑

(Technical audio difficulties)

>> JANS KARBERG:  Hello. 


>> VINT CERF:  Sorry.  You had a little interference there.  Please go on.

>> JENS KARBERG:  Okay.  Thanks. 

So innovation is not just new technologies, or technology at all, but could be a method of ways of working.  But also to say that SIDA is not an expert on the innovation itself.  We may be in the innovators within the field of development itself but not when it comes to technology. 

So when we work with innovation, we are doing that through our partners.  So what we are experts in is to assess our partners and their knowledge and ability to deliver what we are looking for.  And I think that is important to say because we are very seldom assessing innovation itself or the innovation itself.  That's our partner who does that. 

But also to say a few things, I think it's important when we talk about innovation to talk both on long‑term perspective and short‑term perspective. 

Long‑term perspective for SIDA would be to ‑‑ and I think you also can see these concepts built up in the FCGs. 

For example, in FCG 4, education. 

Education is in many ways self‑explanatory; and it's about building people's ability to innovate, to learn, and to develop themselves. 

But another important aspect when we look long‑term; and that is something that SIDA works very heavily with, and that we find in the FCG 5, gender.

As it is today, we see that gender or gender equality is a problem.  We're not today using the full potential of people.  Half of the population don't have the same education, don't have the resources of money, don't get the access to work and market in the same way.  And we see, especially I would say within the technology field, that this is the problem. 

So there is something that SIDA is working very heavily with when we're working with ICT to see that men and women have ‑‑ get better access ‑‑ both men and women get better access to ICT. 

When we go more into mid‑ or short‑term solutions, it's very important to work with government and industry to develop local markets. 

And in this, it's also very important to work with different types of research to develop this area. 

Then to get down to what I do and how we in the direct support within the ICT area are doing, one of the ‑‑ one good example would be the support we do have to Seed Alliance.  But other challenges as well. 

This is the way for SIDA to work with smaller developers, also with organizations that we normally not are able to support; but through intermediaries like APNIC and LACNIC and AFRINIC, we are able to reach those actors. 

And this is very important and crucial for our work, to work through local actors.

And I think that is also one very important aspect of innovation.  We need to work locally because the context is very crucial to developing innovation. 

But to complement that, we also need to find ways of getting to scale.  So we do need different kinds of incubators who can help innovators and others to learn the market and to develop their skills of how to market innovation and get it up to greater scale. 

And one last thing I think which is very important.  I think Laurent thought it up last year in this session.  That is failure. 

And I think it's very important to learn from failures.  And that is something ‑‑ if I should be critical to development and what we have been working with, I think, that is something that we haven't done our homework good enough.  We should be better on reporting on failure and learn from failure. 

I think I'll stop there and leave it over to you.  Thank you. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you, Jens. 


>> PAUL WILSON:  Thank you.  Thanks, Laura. 

Good morning, everyone, and to Vint and Laurent and Jens in Stockholm.  It's great to be here today to talk about funding challenges for innovation in this multistakeholder context. 

We've had similar workshops in IGF before in Bali and Istanbul on this whole question about where multistakeholder processes and funding for development challenges meet. 

So I'm from APNIC and the technical community.  And the technical community really is committed to Internet development.  It's actually what we do.  It's what we exist for. 

And at least in APNIC's case, that's enshrined in part of our mission which is to support Internet development in our region, in the Asia Pacific, which we count across 76 economies including 12 of the least developed economies in the world from Afghanistan to Myanmar to Solomons to Kiribati. 

That explains I think why APNIC has been supporting the Seed Alliance, why we serve as the Secretariat, why we've been operating something called ISIF, Information Society Innovation Fund for Asia, which represents our activities in Seed Alliance in other partners.

So about the Alliance.  We've been working since October 2010, three of the regional Internet registries ‑‑ AFRINIC, LACNIC, and APNIC which you heard about.  I have been working with IDRC on this global collaboration which supports innovation for Internet development across the south.  It's intended to add value, to build synergies across the regions, and to build synergies amongst our own respective development programs. 

The Seed Alliance was launched in 2012 thanks to support from IDRC and to the Swedish Government, SIDA, through a joint partnership a little while later.  So we're close now to ending a three‑year funding cycle and starting a new one with renewed funding.  Again, thanks to IDRC and also new partners like the Internet Society. 

I think the Alliance has been an outstanding example of how the technical community responds to challenges around innovation and Internet development.  We've been able to build a community of support including not only IDRC and SIDA as major donors amongst three different regional organizations, the regional Internet registries, and also growing support from other technical community organizations.  So we've got organizations like the Internet Society and ICANN and DotAsia, all of them technical community organizations contributing real funds into these activities. 

And we've also built a wide range of very committed local friends throughout each of the regions because this is not only about the community of support and funding for the Alliance.  The most important thing actually is the community that's created by the projects themselves that are benefitting from and feeding back into the programs.  It's the people receiving grants and receiving awards. 

In fact, there's an awards ceremony today for the Seed Alliance at 12:30, Workshop Room 1.  So I hope you'll join us for that and learn some more specifically about some of the amazing projects and the people behind them. 

So the model for the Seed Alliance has been successful, and its design really tries to create or involve the lowest possible barriers to entry to building and joining networks within the program and to creating innovative services, solutions, and applications. 

FIRE, FRIDA, and ISIF Asia, which are the three regional programs, have provided the operational frameworks in the regions to strengthen the Internet development in tangible ways. 

So I think one of the key features is the approach that Silvia from APNIC at the Secretariat has been able to develop which is to build this community and to share approaches on how to make the best uses of these resources which goes very much to the sustainability of the innovation processes that are going on. 

The idea is to provide opportunities.  And when you do that, it's not just the people, but the relationships that are built when you share that common goal.  It's not just about attending a workshop or participating at a conference, but creating these tailored sort of specific real on‑the‑ground opportunities that allow innovation to scale. 

So, for example, how to create ‑‑ connect remote areas with TV white space technology is an innovative approach and experiences in that can, and they should be shared.  So building a community through nurturing projects in that area is something that pays off. 

Another example could be applications for the disabled to use and benefit from the Internet or health services deployed by mobile applications to reach remote areas.  These are examples of projects that have actually been supported and succeeded in the past. 

To the millennium goals, I guess we all know that it's under Goal 9 that is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.  And 9C says that we want to significantly increase access to Information and Communications Technologies and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2030. 

So the MDGs previously provided a focal point for government, and they were quite narrowly defined.  And although they applied to all countries in theory, they were in reality considered for ‑‑ mostly targets for poor countries to achieve with finance from wealthy states. 

But in comparison, under the new set of goals, every country is expected to work towards achieving the SDGs.  And the thing is that how to fund that is the trillion dollar question literally.  In a report last year, the committee said public finance and aid would be central to supporting the implementation of the goals. 

So I think we can be happy about the recent adoption of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development which include 17 important goals. 

The importance of that is that there's now room for collaboration specifically and a call for collaboration under the new goals and a recognition of the role of the private sector and other stakeholders to focus together in a multistakeholder way naturally for the next 15 years of growth of the Internet ‑‑

(Technical audio difficulties)

>> LAURENT ELDER:  ‑‑ at the same time, innovation is kind of one of those things that everybody talks about it.  Nobody really knows what it is. 

A lot of people think it's very sexy.  A lot of people want to be involved in being able to say they funded the next Ushahidi or the next even Google.  And at the end of the day, that's very important.  That's very good. 

But I guess from our point of view, what's really important is ensuring that there are the right capacities and the right enabling environment in the developing world for people to innovate, that that is really ‑‑ those are the key success factors, and those are the key things that we have to support as much as possible.  And those are long‑term endeavors.  They take a long time to get there. 

So I'll just stop on that.  Thanks. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Okay. 

Thank you, Laurent. 


>> VINT CERF:  Thank you very much, and good morning, everyone. 

I'm going to try to quickly summarize a variety of ways in which innovation can be stimulated.  One thing which is generally true is that to do that, you need to supply support; and that typically means funding.

So I wanted to quickly relay for you or lay out for you a variety of ways in which new ideas get funding. 

In America, for example, a number of our agencies ‑‑ departments fund a great deal of research to ‑‑ the Department of Defense; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which funded the ARPANET and the Internet, for example.  The Department of Commerce, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health are examples of research funding agencies often aimed at basic research or at applied research.  So that's one way in which innovation is supported. 

Another one is that venture capital companies and angel investors are prepared to take a certain amount of risk in order to support the development of innovative ideas that might lead to new businesses, products, and services.

A more recent development which I find interesting is called crowdfunding.  For example, Kickstarter, among others.  Indiegogo would be another example.

These are typically working well when there is a concrete product that comes out.

For example if there is a thing that you find interesting and the company says, "If I can get half a million dollars, then I can produce this thing for $100.  So if you will please buy one before I've produce it, I will have enough revenue or funding to actually develop the product." 

I've seen movies funded this way.  Indiegogo was started out mostly to fund independent filmmaking. 

Within the U.S. Government framework, there's something called the Small Business Innovation Research program which spends money on small businesses that are looking for support for their innovative activity. 

There's a concept of a cooperative agreement which has been raised to an art form at the National Science Foundation where the NSF supplies funding in cooperation with, for example, a university or even a consortium that might involve the private sector.

The cooperation means that they collaborate together.  It's not just a grant given to the receiving party. 

What's really important I think in order for innovation to succeed is that these various risk‑funding methods remove enough risk to get to the point where venture capital company is willing to invest.  And it's only until enough risk has been removed from this initial research that you get the venture capital people participating. 

At Google, we have several different ways that we approach innovation.  One of them is to allow our engineers to spend 20 percent of their time exploring ideas that may not necessarily have anything to do with the Google product line. 

Actually, to be honest with you, I think it's assumed that the engineers are going to do that anyway.  So we just build it into the business model knowing that some 20 percent of their time will be spent looking at these ideas.

Our investment structure is 70 percent on the products we currently have, 20 percent on products related to our primary product line, and 10 percent on blue sky.  So you hear from time to time about the Google moon shot programs like self‑driving cars or the project balloon with the balloons up at 60,000 feet. 

There are a number of other similar things, and we've restructured the company to increase our attention to these very high‑risk programs. 

There's also funding coming up at Google, for example, to universities.  So we accept proposals from a variety of universities, and we've started to do this outside of the U.S. as well.  These proposals are examined by Google research employees and are evaluated for award. 

Another thing that we've chosen to do inside the company is not to create a central research organization.  It's not quite true.  I'm part of the central research organization, but it's relatively small.  A lot of our Ph.D.s and other research‑capable people are in the rest of the organization.  They're in operations, engineering, sales, marketing.  So the R&D activity in Google is spread throughout the company. 

The thing that makes that so powerful is that these research results are ‑‑ can be injected directly into the immediate activities.  So if there's a new engineering idea, as we did with OpenFlow, we literally jacked up the entire network that connects all our data centers together and slid in the OpenFlow concepts over a period of about 18 months.  We did that because the research was being done in the engineering department. 

And, finally, although this isn't exactly a way of funding innovation, we do acquisitions.  We buy a lot of companies in the early stage of development and by that means supply them with a substantial amount of resource in order to advance their work. 

So that's my summary of the various options for research funding.  They're quite diverse.  And I think it's important that we realize that all of them are needed.  There is no one method for stimulating innovation, and all of these various alternatives operate in different risk levels.

Thank you. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you, Vint. 

Thank you, all. 

This was very interesting. 

I have some specific questions.  I think that maybe you all talk a little bit about the kind of project or the innovation initiatives that the different sectors are interested in or are going to ‑‑ or are in this moment funding and helping to grow. 

But I think that it's interesting to know what does a person need to accomplish to be considered an Internet innovation person?  And with this, I mean like name two or three features a person needs to achieve to be successfully funded.  Is there a ‑‑ two or three or four characteristics that a person needs to have for getting the funding? 

>> VINT CERF:  Yes.  One example.  This is not true of everyone who is an innovator.  But some of them have to be crazy.

One of my former bosses had a wonderful thing.  He said, "To do the impossible, first you have to believe it isn't." 

And so there are people who believe they can do things that everyone else thinks are impossible, crazy, and silly and conflict with the laws of physics.

Packet switching, which the Internet is based on, was once thought to be crazy, back in the 1960s.  So you have to be willing to suspend judgment on some of these things.  You have to be willing to not listen to conventional wisdom.  So that's one feature.

I will tell you the second and third things are patience and persistence because some of these problems are so hard ‑‑ you mentioned the long‑term point. 

Some of these problems are so hard that they're going to take time.  And in the case of Internet, to give you an example, Bob Kahn and I wrote the first papers in 1973.  We could not turn the Internet until 1983.  And it was another ten years before the World Wide Web showed up. 

You have to be patient and very persistence if you want to make something happen.

So those are the characteristics I think of.  And perhaps my colleagues here will think of others.

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Great advice.  Take notes.

>> LAURENT ELDER:  I think I will put in our funding criteria, we will put crazy or not as one of those.  I think that's a good one (laughter). 

As Vint mentioned, persistence is key. 

Most of our successful projects were projects that we were actually involved with from small, little pilot to something that just got bigger and potentially scaled. 

An example is ‑‑ sorry about the phones.  I realize our phones are bleeping like crazy because of Twitter and Paul's phone sounds like R2‑D2. 

One of our successful funded innovations was HarassMap in Egypt which maps out incidents of sexual violence. 

Interesting, it's based on an Ushahidi open source platform so they were able to replicate that platform.  Started from a small idea and has essentially been used across the country now and has influenced policies of universities and the government around sexual harassment. 

There are now over 30 countries that want to replicate the platform.  But that took almost seven or eight years of being with them from the beginning.  So that's really key. 

I would say another thing is just ‑‑ there's a good part to this and bad part to this.  But your reputation or your ‑‑ ensuring that people know that you do good work is also key, right? 

Doing your good little work in a small little corner is interesting; but if people don't know what you're doing, they generally can't approach you and support you because ‑‑ I should say there are actually a lot of funders looking for really good ideas so it's a question of matchmaking between the good ideas and the funding. 

We mentioned the craziness, but for me, a lot of that is about creativity as well. 

I mean a lot of the problems that we are dealing with, the challenges that we are dealing with are systemic development challenges in health, education, the environment.  These things are very difficult, intractable problems where technology can, or sometimes cannot, contribute to solving those challenges and those problems.  But we have to think about it creatively originally, see whether there's a way in which technology and innovation play a role.

And for us, the last point is that it's not enough to demonstrate that you've got a cool product or a good gadget. 

It's really important to demonstrate that it can make a difference to people's lives. 

In part, we are a development funding organization.  So we don't just focus on commercial products.  We mainly focus on products that have social impact or at least sometimes shared value impact with private sector. 

So we are very interested in how you can demonstrate that it will play a role in benefitting people's lives, whether it's improving their health, ensuring they're better educated, or that there's a better environment.


>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you, Laurent. 

I don't know if Jens is still there. 

>> JENS KARBERG:  I don't know, either.  I can hear you.

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Yes, you are.

>> JENS KARBERG:  Okay.  Great. 

I think for us working with development, for us, it's very important to start with the people we are trying to reach, poor people. 

We ‑‑ a lot ‑‑ when we talk about innovation in general, a lot is done already by the market and by people ‑‑ by people in the industry and others. 

But for us, we always have to think about what we can do for poor people.  And we need to be innovative in that sense that we are trying to find innovation.  And that is ‑‑ especially when you talk about technologies, it's often not new technologies that we are funding, but old technology used in a new way, to put it back into the context where poor people are and what technologies poor people have access to. 

So that's where we are starting out and where we need to be because we can't duplicate the market itself.  They do it the best ‑‑ in the best way.  And if we're doing that, we are doing the wrong thing I think I would say. 

I'll think I'll stop there.  Thanks. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Great.  Thank you.

>> PAUL WILSON:  Thanks, Laura. 

I thought I might say a few words about the selection process because the small grants programs that are being run here, one of the critical things is the selection process.  And you have a group of people trying to work out what is the innovation that's happening.  It's a judgment.  It's something that's being discussed ‑‑ these programs in one form or another have been going on for well over ten years.  And I'd say over that time, there's been a constant discussion and refinement of and a questioning of what innovation is and what we're looking for.  So it's an important question. 

I think Vint said already it's not that we're looking for a crazy idea every time.  A globally unique invention, something that has never been done before, because innovation can exist in a local context.  It can be an innovative application of something that already exists.

It can be innovative in terms of how it is used within a community and how a community might adapt and transform as a result of the introduction of a technology or a technique. 

It could be innovative in promoting the replicability and the dissemination of something that already exists say through trialing or technique, analyzing how it works and documenting it so others can see it, learn it, use it, and replicate it.

In most cases, barring the crazy ideas, I think it's very much about the process that the project is involved with rather than the product.  And when as a committee member you see a request and application for funding coming in, what's really critical is for the applicant showing that they are reflecting on the innovation that's involved.  It's not just doing something, but it's doing something and knowing why it's innovative and how it's going to be innovative and how it's going to help.  And I think that's what the committees will always look for, the self‑awareness of where the innovation is. 

Unless it's a crazy idea that just blows everyone out of the water because it's so fantastic.  Thanks. 

>> VINT CERF:  One other observation, and that is that innovation is not necessarily high tech.  Sometimes it is recognizing an opportunity to use local materials and local designs and maybe implementing something differently than before.  But it isn't always high tech.  And that's a very important rule to hang on to.  It's the ideas that are important. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you.

I think this was very interesting and we can get real input about what you are thinking about when we talk about innovation projects.

I think it is also important to know, also, what challenges are you facing reaching the innovators, you know, from the other side and how the different sectors try to ensure the sustainability of the project that you support. 

>> VINT CERF:  The question how you find the innovators or how they find you or how they find sources of support is really quite interesting.

With this online environment, sometimes it's easier to find these innovative people than it was in the past.  Sometimes they'll show up because they've created an app that gets a lot of attention or talking on a blog or maybe on a website and there's an exchange of points and discussion. 

At Google, one thing we've tried to do is to concentrate those innovative people in one place so they can stimulate each other.

In London, for example, we put together a building called Campus which houses a significant number of entrepreneurs who are working on different ideas.  But because they're all in the same place and have access to some of the Google engineers, the rate of progress is often faster.

So I think that discovering ways of helping people become visible, which one of the two of you pointed out, I think is very important.  What I immediately thought of when you mentioned visibility is something that Ted Turner was asked, "How is it that you were so successful?"

And he said, "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise."  And it's not bad advice.

>> LAURENT ELDER:  I think Jens mentioned the point about being open to failure.  I mean it's something we talked about last year.  And I think it's really important.  It's really important for those of us more from the public sector where there's much less tolerance for failing; and yet we know in the innovation sector or space, you've got limited success rates. 

Usually ‑‑ some studies say about 10 percent of what you fund will actually have commercial success, social success possibly even less.  So this is a very difficult field to be in. 

So when you're in the private sector, I think that is something that is appreciated, taken into account in the process. 

In the public sector, you know, dealing with taxpayer money, that becomes much more complicated.

So that's just something we need to deal with. 

Although linked to that is actually the fact that I find in our sector, there's sometimes too much funding of the successful cases.  So, you know, there might be a few key projects that might end up being seen as winners; and they end up reaping the rewards of the funding environment.  I mean I think of a group like iHub in Kenya which is a great institution.  I mean it's a technology incubator in Kenya.  It is considered one of the 50 top companies in the world by Fast Company.

We support them.  I think SIDA supports them.  I think just about every funder supports them at this point.

But I was just talking on the bus with a colleague from Kenya, and he said, "Yes, you fund iHub just like all the other donors fund iHub.  What about the next iHub?  What about the next people who might have a good idea?" 

And that's where we need to be better at discovering who those ‑‑ who the next iHub, the next Ushahidi will be.

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you, Laurent. 


>> PAUL WILSON:  I guess there's a standard averaged ratio of how many failures it takes before you succeed at any given enterprise; and I think by funding failures, we are helping people to get closer to the ultimate success.

So the success or sustainability is not just that you've produced something that succeeds and pays for itself financially, but it's in creation of the avenues for learning and collaboration and wider support and networking and so on. 

It's the organizational capacity building of the organization itself, the challenge of implementing and succeeding or maybe more likely failing in the endeavor that actually will, still, in any case ‑‑ not in every case; but where a careful decision is made, it will bring someone closer to the success that they're looking for.  Thanks.

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thanks. 

Jens, do you want to say something? 

>> JENS KARBERG:  I missed quite a bit on the question and the response from the others. 

Could you repeat the question. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Yes.  We were talking about the challenges to reach the innovators and how to ensure the sustainability of the projects or the agencies that the private sector supports.

>> JENS KARBERG:  Thank you. 

To reach out, it's a bit often talked about earlier that we are ourselves not reaching out to the innovator ‑‑ directly to the innovators but rather through intermediaries.  We're trying to work with other organizations that are experts in innovation and so on to define the innovators themselves.

But in saying that, I think what might be a problem for an organization like us is that we quite often tend to work and collaborate with partners that we already know.  And that could be a problem in itself, instead of working with organizations with the private sector better and so on. 

So I think we are trying to change that.  But I think in the place we're changing it too slow, and we need to be better to develop that work. 


>> JENS KARBERG:  Thanks.

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you. 

>> VINT CERF:  Could I say something about sustainability? 

The National Science Foundation created a clever idea.  When preparing to shut down the National Science Foundation network, because it discovered that the universities could purchase Internet services in the commercial market, rather than just shutting everything off, they shut down the NSF net but opened up things that we call Internet Exchange Points today.  But what they was very clever. 

They said, "Okay.  You can propose to open up an Internet Exchange Point, and we will subsidize that operation; but it will be on a declining basis.  So if you are not self‑supporting after three years, our funding will go away." 

So the idea here was to provide a glide path towards sustainability.  And by putting a finite time bound on it, it removed or reduced their own risk factor, which is if it didn't work after three years, it was over.

And the other way was to fund for finite period and say, "We'll stop funding after four years, and you have to figure out during that period how to be self‑sustaining."

So these are ways for providing incentive for achieving a sustainable operation. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you.  Great. 

Okay.  I have a last question, but I think that it's better to leave it to the end, to the closing remarks because we have ‑‑ we don't have much time and the idea is now is to work in groups.  We are very interested in what you have to say.  You are on the other side, and you are working in projects innovator Internet. 

So we identified four themes that I think that represent what today are the general challenges that organizations are facing towards getting funding.

One of them we called it too big, too small; and it's about the gap between small organizations working with specific issues and the challenges to get these small grants and a big organization getting maybe the bigger amounts for the agencies and the private sector and the government.  Maybe sometimes it's less effort to fund the big organizations than to follow the small ones. 

And then the second one, we call it Yellow Brick Road.  And it's about challenges within language and maybe cultural challenges.  We were thinking about a great project in China that because we can't speak Chinese and in the process of translation, we missed the whole important part, and we can't use it or we can't get the experience, and we can't get to take it to another region. 

Collaboration is hard.  Is it worth it?  This is about organizations working together. 

Sometimes we get from the donors that we need to organize and we need to work together and we need to form pools of organizations.  And sometimes this is harder than the objective of the project. 

And reporting and influence.  Well, this issue I think is ‑‑ it has been around forever, and it's about the line between reporting and to get this information to know how the project goes and spend a lot of time reporting and ‑‑ yes, and not with the real goals. 

So I think we are quite a lot.  Divide in four groups.

>> VINT CERF:  I have a suggestion.  This is not her fault.  It's on the fly.  We only have twenty minutes left.  Taking the time to divide up into groups is going to be hard, especially if you want closing remarks.

Another tactic to consider ‑‑ this is not my idea, but it was very clever. 

If you just pick whoever is sitting next to you and tell them the idea that you got from this discussion this morning, just share with each other what idea would you like the other person to be convinced of.  And then after we have maybe ten minutes of that, we'll ask people whose ideas they got excited about to tell us what they were.  That might be a fast way of getting conversation going so you're not just listening to us.  And then you can tell us what those ideas were so we can all share them.

No one is forced to tell anything. 

But I hope some people have some good ideas that they're willing to share.  But just try to convince the person sitting next to you that your idea is a good one. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Totally agree.  Yes. 

Okay.  So you can find your partner next to you; and if you have any questions or you don't remember the themes, I'm going to be reaching you. 

We have, yes, ten minutes. 


>> LAURA KAPLAN:  I'm going to start because we have eight minutes left.


Okay.  We have seven minutes now, so we really appreciate if you have questions, comments, ideas, suggestions.  Just raise your hand. 


Please introduce yourself.

>> AUDIENCE:  Okay.  I'm Rodrigo from Brazil.  I work at Dynamo.  It's an association for Brazil for start‑ups and innovations.  We try to work with organizations in Brazil.  We try to represent them for public policies for the federal government. 

What I was hearing here, it's all very amazing what all the things that you told us.  But there's two concerns that we see in Brazil and other countries that are not United States and countries that are well developed is that we have big problems in cultural, problems for entrepreneurs in Brazil, and we also have public policy problems in Brazil, and a lot of other countries.

And these issues are a lot bigger than the venture problem.  Because we have money in Brazil.  We have investors that are interested in start‑ups in Brazil.  But the big problem we have is that usually the start‑ups start up here; and when they start getting successful, they go outside of Brazil.  They go to the U.S., U.K., and other countries because investing in Brazil is very difficult.  And I'm sure that happens in a lot of other countries in the world.

So I think that's something that ‑‑ that's an approach that we also need to look at, because looking at what you're saying works a lot in the U.S., but when I look at what you're seeing in Brazil, it's not like that.  It's a lot more difficult.  So the failure problem is a lot worse in Brazil.  A lot worse. 

So you can't fail in any way, not only in the public sector but in other sectors as well. 

So we have a lot of work in Brazil on cultural problems and also in public policy problems that we're trying to tackle, but it's going to be a long road across. 

So investing in these start‑ups has to have this in consideration in Brazil and other underdeveloped countries. 

>> VINT CERF:  We only have a little time left, but do you have ideas for solving those cultural problems, for example, because those are hard.

>> AUDIENCE:  Yes, they are.  What we see in Brazil actually is that it doesn't start in the universities and the schools.  What we're trying to focus in Brazil is to work with the universities because Brazil doesn't have like the wide career.  So in the university, you don't start as entrepreneur.  You always are being taught to be a worker.  What we're trying to do is make the wide career in the universities, also.

>> VINT CERF:  We need classes in mavericks.

>> AUDIENCE:  That's true.

>> VINT CERF:  Thank you. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you.  We have another participant. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Hello.  My name is Dr. Sara ‑‑ I'm from Pakistan.  My start‑up's name is Doctors where we connect female online doctors to rural communities by video consultation.

My question, my query is that whenever you're funding ‑‑ we talk about funding in countries like Pakistan and the countries around, there's a huge risk associated whether this funding is going to be used for the right method or not, whether there's go be to corruption.  How do you analyze your risk when you're funding us?  Because that's a huge problem when it comes to funding in my country, that funders are scared because that money can be used in corruption because it's happened in the past unfortunately. 

And, also, we find it very inaccessible to reach out to funders because, as he said, they only go for the big organizations.  And small ones get ignored. 

So what is the right method of reaching out to the right funders? 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you. 

Do you want to say something? 

>> LAURENT ELDER:  I think that's a really good point. 

The risk assessment, that is always a part of how we decide whether we fund projects or not.  There's actually a whole ‑‑ this is what happens behind the screen of the funders, that we go through a whole process of appraising your project, different categories of appraisal.  One of the biggest is risk, to what extent is their country risk, institutional risk, administrative risk. 

This is a problem because at the end of the day what happens is, as you just said, it's the more longer‑term, stable, bigger organizations that can demonstrate that they know how to mitigate those risks that tend to pass that criteria better. 

Now, that said, we're kind of lucky because I still think that despite being a bureaucracy that is concerned with risk and accountability, we also have some flexibility at trying out new ideas.  Crazy ideas.  Crazy institutions.  That might be the next big thing.

And in my tenure, I've seen us be able to do that and make a bet on certain smaller organizations that really worked out quite well.

Now, it helps that we're in the field.  We've got an office in Delhi so we kind of know what's going on in Pakistan.  We've got an office Cairo, in Nairobi so we know what's going on in Africa.  We've got an office in Uruguay.  We have a better sense of what's going on in Latin America.  And that helps.

Being in the field helps to get in touch and better understand who is doing what in the field. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Thank you.  One minute left so one question. 

Sorry.  We're laughing because I forget to introduce myself because I'm presenter. 

I'm Laura Kaplan.  I'm Development and Cooperation Manager for LACNIC.  I'll be here if you have also questions or want to talk about what you need.  I'm here. 

I don't know if there's a last question or suggestion from the audience? 



>> AUDIENCE:  Gustav Jensen from the Danish Embassy here in Brazil.  We work a lot with technology in Brazil, and I do see some of your problems.  And I also have a very physical thing that Internet is kind of very, very necessary for starting up companies.  It works in Sao Paulo, works in Rio.  But the rest of Brazil has problems. 

I like the iHub idea, but how do you get Internet out to these remote areas?  Your company wants to do something.  But how do we team up government and private companies to invest more because we can't do e‑banking and we can't do all of these things unless we have an Internet connection.  It starts there.  So how do we put in more? 

And my friend from Afghanistan here, he says it's the same issue they have.

>> VINT CERF:  I have a couple of answers to this.  One of them is that outside the building, if you see O3B, those satellite ground stations, they're dropping 400 megabits a second down and 100 megabits up.  You should go try this out.  So that drops a lot of capacity in places that would normally be disconnected.

But the other thing about Internet which is really cool is you can build some of our own if you want to.  The equipment costs of building a piece of it is getting cheaper and cheaper.  So if you have the expertise ‑‑ and there are ways of learning.  There are people at like the Network Startup Resource Center that can come in and train people ‑‑ it's possible to build a piece of Internet and run it.  And then find somebody to connect to.

It doesn't solve all the problem that you're raising, but the fact that we have the incredible range of ability to implement small‑size, community‑sized things verses big ground stations makes it possible to solve that problem; whereas, it might be impossible otherwise. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Okay. 

Thank you, Vint. 

Okay.  We are out of time. 

>> AUDIENCE:  One last? 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Okay. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Hi.  I'm Nicholas from AlterMundi from Argentina.  We work exactly doing this that you were talking about.  We build community networks.  We help people build their own networks in very small towns and rural places.  And it does ‑‑ there's a lot of information and a lot of software and do‑it‑yourself hardware of high level for people that really want to build their networks, and a lot of working examples nowadays. 

So if anyone wants to talk about that stuff a bit more, I'm also here. 

>> LAURA KAPLAN:  Okay.  Thank you.  Great. 

Okay.  Thank you, all.  Thank you.  A very, very special thank you for the panelists. 

We're going to be here all week so I invite you to reach us any moment, at coffee break.

And last announcement:  Today at 12:30, we're going to have the awards ceremony for our global projects, the winner of the three projects from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

We'll be in Room 1, and you are all invited to go. 

So see you there.  And see you around.  And thank you very much to all of you.