UNICEF Funding Opportunity for Blockchain Start-ups

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The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make $50-90K equity-free investments to provide early stage (seed) finance to for-profit  technology start-ups that have the potential to benefit humanity.

If you’ve got a start-up registered in one of UNICEF’s programme 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.

Who we’re looking for?

We are currently looking to invest in a group of companies developing software solutions on open blockchains. Examples of these include, but are not limited to:

Smart Contracts 

  • Using smart contracts to replicate and improve on existing organizational mechanisms
  • Efficiencies, transparencies, and accountabilities in contractual engagements (i.e. multi-sig contracts that guarantee certain actors were involved)
  • Transparency in distribution of resources (can we better show where our money is going?)
  • Interactions across groups (what would a SWIFT code for development look like, if described in Solidity?)
  • Increasing access and use of tokenized systems by creating more user friendly and more secure interfaces

Analyzing data

  • Using machine learning to understand the activities on public blockchains.
  • Can we develop unicity from transactions on public blockchains?
  • Could we use crypto-flows to help organizations  and governments do and understand their transactions more efficiently? Can we use blockchain data to solve humanitarian challenges? (i.e. using bitcoin data to fight human trafficking)

Tokens

  • Can crypto tokens work to incentivize or support behavior that benefits humanity?
  • How could we connect various tokens to each other to maximize human potential?
  • How could we utilize digital scarcity, non-fungible tokens, or digital collectibles for social good?

Mining

  • Can we use passive distributed mining networks to create investment funding opportunities for the UNICEF Venture Fund? (more on cryptocurrency mining)

And + Our funding is not necessarily limited to the above. We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable. If you are aligned with our general criteria, we want to hear from you.


How to apply?

– go to www.unicefinnovationfund.org 
– Click on ‘Submit’ and then ‘Submissions by Start-ups’.

Step 1: Check that your company and project meet the eligibility criteria 

Check the eligibility criteria:

– You must be registered as a private company in a UNICEF programme country;
– You are 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);
– You have an existing prototype of the solution with promising results from initial pilots
– Your solution has the potential to positively impact the lives of children.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: Any Questions?

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions on the site. You can also submit questions that you have through the form provided on the site.

Step 4: 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.

When to apply?

We encourage you to submit your application when ready as we will be reviewing on an ongoing basis. Only shortlisted companies will be contacted and then requested to submit a more in-depth proposal.

What does the UNICEF Innovation Fund provide?

Seed funding. The Fund provides $50- $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 Blockchain lead and computer science team hosting and sharing data platforms, and with access to corporate partnerships and use cases that selected Blockchain start-ups can benefit from.

Maximize impact. As the world’s leading organisation 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.

More info:

TO APPLY: www.unicefinnovationfund.org/#/submit
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
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To learn more about our work in Blockchain, click here.