The UNICEF Venture Fund is looking to make up to US$100K in equity-free investments to provide early-stage (seed) funding to for-profit start-ups developing frontier technology solutions that can positively impact the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. If your product is registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries, is a working prototype, has demonstrated results, and is (or could be) open-source licensed, they encourage you to apply.
The Fund does not help large companies to create new business lines. UNICEF will support companies registered in these markets in UNICEF’s programme countries- with a small amount of money to move solutions to the stage where these are proven to be workable and can be implemented.
The Innovation Fund does not take equity, instead UNICEF requires that all code, content or hardware developed and tested be open source and be publicly available. The Innovation Fund provides money, technical support and a network to help such companies grow. Funded projects will be connected to other similar early-stage projects in other countries, which should enable projects to develop faster and better.
What kind of ideas / companies will the Innovation Fund support?
- Project is developing new technology
- Project is expanding/improving existing technology/ platform (i.e. it will be in a place where the technology is being used but will involve new tech being built)
- Project is a new application/ piloting new use case for existing technology (i.e little or no new technology will be built and it will be used in the same place)
- Projects are assessed by UNICEF Innovation Fund team and recommended for funding to the internal board. Companies need to fulfill the following mandatory requirements to be considered for funding:
- Registered as a private company
- Registered in a UNICEF programme country
- Working on open source technology solutions (or willing to be open source) under the following licenses or their equivalent:
- for software, a BSD license,
- for hardware, a CERN license and
- a CC-BY license for design or content, a CC-BY license
- An existing prototype of the open source solution with promising results from initial pilots
- Solution has the potential to positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable children
- Generating publicly exposed real-time data that is measurable
- They recommend that you use translating tools such as Google Translate if you’re unable to complete the Expression of Interest in English.
- An eligible company can submit more than one expression of interest for different projects. Each will be assessed independently based on the criteria. The funding cap will be applied to each application.
For more information, visit UNICEF.