Are you working in a tech company which has a strong engineering & data-science team? Are you looking for some early-stage funding? If so, and if your company is not making something that is messing up the world but actually is trying to make it a better place, you might be interested in our call for data science funding.


What we’re looking for

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to fund and support, with both data and technical expertise, startups that are working with sophisticated applications of computer science including data mining, data processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and others, to help make the world a better place.

For our Data-Science cohort of investees we are particularly interested in the following areas:

Generating large data collections. Does your startup use novel methods to create/compile/curate large data-sets through: 

– crowdsourcing/social network platforms that generate or curate information,
– scraping platforms that automatically collect/translate/summarize information, or
– some form of automatization to digitize/organize existing data?

We are interested in companies that can help compile large data collections where they are scarce. Your product could either be a data-gathering platform or a groundbreaking data-set.

Understanding complex environments. Do you specialize in analyzing large amounts of data and visualising it in intuitive ways; getting a simple picture from a complex collection of data points? Examples include real time analysis that enable governments to monitor needs and understand the environment, and data storytelling that facilitates access to more and up-to-date information.

Processing satellite images. Do you use satellite images to understand our world, and map how it changes over time? Do you work on image analysis to identify infrastructure, social events, climate or other contextual features? We are especially interested in companies that work with high-resolution imagery, both in terms of spatial and temporal resolution, as well as in exploring the possibilities of the non visible spectrum of remote sensing. We are looking for startups that work on pushing the potential of remote sensing and making analysis of satellite images more easily accessible to the general population.

Applying Artificial Intelligence. Do you have a robust idea that uses classic AI, such as optimization or pattern recognition to address social and environmental problems? Are you are applying the newest Deep Learning or Transfer Learning techniques to develop business ideas and solve problems for the benefit of all people? If so, we want to hear from you!

Pushing technology forward

There are numerous applications of data-science, this call is not necessarily limited to the above descriptions. We are interested in companies that apply data-science in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, globally applicable, and can be used for the benefit of humanity.

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.

Who can apply

Startups registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries (see complete list here) and who have a working product (app, service, method, or something else). Check out the eligibility criteria for the Innovation Fund under and find an overview of the process here.

Your company does not have to be fully down the road of having a ready product, it can be at the very beginning. The funding is intended to seed an exploration within a company that already exists, that has a strong team, that can be profitable, and successful in the space of data-science.

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 you to validate and test your prototype, and get it to a stage where the company has proof that your solution works.

Product and technology development. Selected startups will receive technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team to help validate and improve their solutions. Additionally, startups are plugged into a data-science focused cohort where they will be connected with other companies working on similar solutions, exchange lessons learned and share critical data.

Business Growth. The Fund taps into a network of mentors who help startup teams develop their business model and strategy to grow their companies and ultimately profit.

Data networks and platforms.  UNICEF Ventures has a dedicated Data-Science team since 2014, developing partnerships, data platforms, and use cases. Through our network you can get access to world class researchers, corporate partnerships, and additional datasets. Read about our latest partnership story here.

Maximize impact for children. 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 on your solution, assess its impact, and develop partnerships needed to reach more users.

Check out and our FAQ’s for more information.