The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make up to 100K 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.
What we’re looking for
UNICEF is currently looking to invest in companies that are using data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence or similar technologies to build solutions that respond to the following questions:
Are you using new sources of data such as satellite imagery or social media and applying data science or artificial intelligence techniques to understand the physical world that we live in?
Do you know how much knowledge is available in your language online? Was it created locally? How is content structured and how do we learn it? In other words, are you trying to use data science and AI to understand the digital world that we live in?
What skills will be in most demand tomorrow? Are you trying to use data science, machine learning or artificial intelligence techniques to generate new insights from data?
Or are you generating and curating data for any of the above?
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.
**Deadline February 28.
Who can apply
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 society.
Your company does not have to be fully down the road of having a ready product, it can be at the very beginning. Our funding is intended to seed an exploration within a company that already exists, that has a strong team and a prototype, and that can be profitable, and successful in the space of data-science. Please read the FAQs for more details on the selection criteria
**Women led projects are encouraged to apply.
What does the UNICEF Innovation Fund provide?
Seed funding. The Fund provides up to $100,000 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.
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.