2019 UNICEF Funding Opportunity for Tech Startups
Applications are being accepted for the UNICEF Innovation Fund on a rolling basis.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make USD 50-90,000 equity-free investments to provide early stage (seed) finance to for-profit technology start-ups that have the potential to benefit humanity.
UNICEF’s Innovation (Venture) Fund is a newly established, non-thematic, pooled fund which has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. They invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. They find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: blockchain, UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, quantum computing, genetic engineering, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites and human dynamics.
The IF has been designed to fund open source solutions from early-stage technology startups. This funding can go either to UNICEF Country Offices or to private sector companies in UNICEF programme countries. Through its investments, the Innovation Fund is generating value by strengthening communities of problem solvers, increasing open source intellectual property and growing solutions that bring results for children. The Fund also invests in early-stage “knowledge products” – operations research that is published in the public domain and supports investment strategies and decisions.
If you’ve got a start-up registered in one of UNICEF’s program countries and have a working, open source prototype (or you are willing to make it open-source) showing promising results, the UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for you.
- Seed funding: The Fund provides USD 50 — USD 90,000 in equity-free seed funding. The money is intended for prototype testing and validation, and to get it to a stage where the company has proof that the solution works.
- Product and technology development: Selected startups will receive technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team to help validate and improve their solutions.
- Business Growth: The Fund taps into a network of mentors who help startup teams develop their business model and strategy to grow their company and ultimately profit.
- Data networks and platforms: UNICEF Ventures has a dedicated Data Science team hosting and sharing data platforms, and with access to corporate partnerships and use cases that selected start-ups can benefit from.
- Maximize impact: As the world’s leading organization for children, UNICEF has a network of experts and partners across its Country Offices who can provide geographically localized advice and partnerships needed to reach more users.
To be eligible:
- Applicants must be registered as a private company in a UNICEF program country.
- Be working on open source technology solutions or willing to be open-source under the following licenses or their equivalent: BSD (software), CERN (hardware), or CC-BY (content).
- Must have an existing prototype of the solution with promising results from initial pilots.
- Applicants’ solution should have the potential to positively impact the lives of children.
Eligible Regions: Multiple Regions.
- Apply online through the given link.
- Check that your company and project meet the eligibility criteria.
- Read the Request for Expressions of Interest document. On the site, you can find a document that explains how your submission will be evaluated. Read it before you make your submission, as it will help you focus on what’s important.
- Check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the site. You can also submit questions that you have through the form provided on the site.
- Submit your expression of interest.
- All submissions must be made in English. To support your preparation, please note that the submission form asks for a link to a 2-min pitch video.
*UNICEF encourages to submit your application when ready as they will be reviewing on an ongoing basis. Only shortlisted companies will be contacted and then requested to submit a more in-depth proposal.