New Incentives @ Y Combinator

New Incentives part of startup incubator YC



The team of New Incentives is excited to be part of the summer 2016 batch of startup incubator Y Combinator.  
Read more about it in YC’s online publication ‘the macro’.

New Incentives Receives Grant from Gates Foundation

New Incentives Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development


Press Release (PDF)


Gates Foundation

San Francisco, CA (4 November 2014) – New Incentives announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Svetha Janumpalli, Chief Executive Officer of New Incentives will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “Saving Babies: Conditional Cash Transfers and Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT)”.


Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Svetha Janumpalli’s project is one of more than 60 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.


To receive funding, Svetha Janumpalli and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas.  The foundation is accepting applications for the current GCE round until November 12, 2014 11:30 AM PDT.


Saving Babies is a randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether conditional cash transfers (CCTs) can increase retention in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) cascade. The project combines the proven effectiveness of both CCTs and PMTCT to test a novel intervention for averting the transmission of HIV to newborns.


Saving Babies is a randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether conditional cash transfers (CCTs) can increase retention in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) cascade.


The cash transfer program evaluated in this trial is implemented in southern Nigeria by the US non-profit New Incentives in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Akwa Ibom State. Nigeria accounts for one in three mother-to-child transmissions of HIV. While HIV services have become widely available in Akwa Ibom over the past few years, retention continues to be a challenge. The conditional cash transfers are an effective means to reward desirable health-seeking behavior and financially support vulnerable HIV-positive women during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.



About Grand Challenges Explorations


Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, over 1070 projects in more than 60 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants.  The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization.  The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required.  Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.


New Incentives is a US-based nonprofit committed to implementing health-related cash transfer programs to save lives in developing countries. Operating in Nigeria, New Incentives gives HIV-positive women conditional cash transfers, which encourage them to follow medical advice and treatment so that their children are born healthy. Without medical treatment babies are up to 15 times more likely to contract HIV, and half of those who do usually die within the first two years of their lives if they do not receive antiretroviral drugs. New Incentives is supported by GiveWell, Good Ventures, and The Lampert Family Foundation.

Photo story: Helping Hope give birth to a healthy baby

Helping an HIV-positive woman give Photo Story Email Campaign Coverbirth to a healthy


Check out our photo story about Hope, one of the first beneficiaries of the New Incentives conditional cash transfer program, which rewards women financially when they complete the treatment against mother-to-child transmission of HIV.


We are excited that the photo story, our first such publication, has been featured as a staff pick by


New Incentives receives major grant and is praised by GiveWell

From dozens to hundreds of HIV-free newborns

GiveWell - Good Ventures
We are excited to announce that New Incentives will be scaling up its program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV from dozens to hundreds of West African women and infants in the coming months.

This expansion is made possible by the support of two renowned donors, the Lampert Family Foundation and Good Ventures, the charitable foundation of Facebook Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, the President of Good Ventures.


The decision by these two foundations was in part influenced by the well-known charity evaluator GiveWell. As recently announced on its blog, GiveWell considers it “plausible that New Incentives will eventually become a GiveWell top charity” because of its evidence-based program and commitment to transparency.


While we are happy to receive this initial recognition from a trusted source, we are aware that we still have a lot of work ahead of us to be considered as a top charity one day.


Given the critical task of scaling up our program effectively and efficiently, our Founder and CEO Svetha has moved to Nigeria in West Africa to personally ensure we can prevent as many mother-to-child transmissions of HIV as possible.


If you are as excited about this news as we are, please take a few minutes to:


  • Check out our website, including a visual description of the program and FAQs

Forbes: Paying Women To Go to Free HIV Clinics

Why are we paying African women to go to free HIV clinics? Learn more in this Forbes article about New Incentives.

Some of the highlights:

Svetha Janumpalli thinks you can save a child for the cost of a pair of shoes. The 26-year-old, who was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list this year, is moving to Nigeria from San Francisco in two weeks time to prove her point. For the past few years Janumpalli has been building New Incentives, an organization that pays people in poverty small sums of money regularly to go to an HIV clinic

Starting with a pilot program paying families to send their children to school in India, Janumpalli is now focusing New Incentive’s limited resources on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria. The country accounts for 30% of mother-to-child HIV transmission and 70% of people live on less than a dollar a day. The women get a small payment everytime they’ve received a treatment in a clinic…

One of the great “aid myths” according to Janumpalli is that we’ve got to build more and more clinics and schools. Instead she’s focusing on clinics that are being underused.

“There’s tons of empty clinics and schools all around the world,” she says. People know the clinics are free and are aware of them, but everything else in their life – feeding their children, cultural and religious distrust of the clinic – is preventing them from making the trip there, says Janumpalli.

Learn more about our program.

New UN report illustrates importance of our program

A new report by the United Nations on children and Aids makes a case for programs such as ours.

Here are the three takeaways:


1) With 1.5 million HIV-positive pregnant women worldwide, the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission is of utmost importance.



2) In West and Central Africa, where we operate, there is a particular need for tackling mother-to-child HIV transmission. There is a large number of pregnant women living with HIV, but only very few of their newborns benefit from drugs that prevent an HIV infection.

350,000 pregnant women living with HIV in West and Central Africa

7 out of 10 newborns do not benefit from drugs that prevent HIV transmission



3) The UN report confirms that the innovative approach chosen by New Incentives has an impact. Learn more about our program that builds on conditional cash transfers. 


“Social protection has already proven to have an impact not only in support for children and families already affected by HIV, but also in preventing HIV and improving treatment and care outcomes. The opportunity exists now to tailor these programmes to include HIV-affected populations, extending the support they offer to include … cash transfers for poor households.”

* Source: UNICEF, Towards an AIDS-free Generation, Children and AIDS, Sixth Stocktaking Report, December 2013