UNICEF Funding Opportunity for Tech Start-ups
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 invest in frontier technologies that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs. Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
Blockchain: Using distributed ledger technologies to reduce the cost and to increase the speed, transparency, identity and accountability of financial transactions.
*Click here to read more about the kind of blockchain startups we are looking for.
Drones: Developing software modules that can improve drone operations, data processing and sharing or supply chain management systems for testing drones in areas with low connectivity.
Virtual and Augmented Reality: Providing new, immersive ways that can enhance our learning experience, expand our understanding of complex systems and improve how we interact with one another.
*Click here to read more about the kind of VR/AR startups we are looking for.
Data Science: Compiling and analyzing large data collections where they are scarce, allowing the visualization of large amounts of data in intuitive ways, or creating new machine learning models and frameworks for using data more effectively.
*Click here to read more about the kind of DS startups we are looking for.
Artificial Intelligence: Using AI tools (such as optimization or pattern recognition) or the newest Deep Learning or Transfer Learning techniques to address social or environmental problems.
And + Our funding is not necessarily limited to the above. We are interested in companies that apply 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 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 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.