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 technology start-ups developing software solutions using frontier technologies for climate action. If your startup leverages frontier technology for climate analytics and forecasts, greener economies, climate and disaster risk mitigation, carbon offsetting or emission reduction, or youth engagement around climate action, we are looking for you.
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, we encourage you to apply.
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 ( see list here)
- Working on open source technology solutions (or willing to be open source) under the following licenses or their equivalent:
- (i) for software, a BSD license,
- (ii) for hardware, a CERN license and
- (iii) 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
- All companies of the portfolio receive tailored support for product development, building a business model, and user testing based on their own needs assessment. Startups also gain access to the UNICEF Ventures team’s tech expertise, networks and platforms to help them reach the stage where they can prove that their solutions work and tap into larger funding sources.
- Business growth: A network of mentors help startup teams develop their business model and strategy around an open source technology, to grow their company and ultimately profit.
- Product development: In addition to financial investment, startups and UNICEF Country Offices receive technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team and dedicated expert mentors to help validate and improve their solutions. Connections with partners provide valuable expertise on product development.
- Unicef Network: Startups can leverage UNICEF Ventures’ dedicated Data Science team which hosts and shares data platforms including RapidPro and Magic Box, access unique testing environments such as drone corridors and country office programmes, and utilize corporate partners for potential follow-on funding.
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)