UNICEF Innovation Fund

UNICEF Innovation Fund for Blockchain Startups

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.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund avails quick access to fund and grow open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives. Financial and technological support is available for companies that are using technology in innovative ways to improve the world.

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.

UNICEF Innovation Fund Benefits

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.

What they are looking for

UNICEF Innovation Fund is currently looking to invest in a group of companies developing software solutions on open blockchains. Examples of these include, but are not limited to:

Smart Contracts 

  • Using smart contracts to replicate and improve on existing organizational mechanisms
  • Efficiencies, transparencies, and accountabilities in contractual engagements (i.e. multi-sig contracts that guarantee certain actors were involved)
  • Transparency in the distribution of resources (can we better show where our money is going?)
  • Interactions across groups (what would a SWIFT code for development look like, if described in Solidity?)
  • Increasing access and use of tokenized systems by creating more user-friendly and more secure interfaces

Analyzing data

  • Using machine learning to understand the activities of public blockchains.
  • Can we develop unicity from transactions on public blockchains?
  • Could we use crypto-flows to help organizations and governments do and understand their transactions more efficiently? Can we use blockchain data to solve humanitarian challenges? (i.e. using bitcoin data to fight human trafficking)

Tokens

  • Can crypto tokens work to incentivize or support behaviour that benefits humanity?
  • How could we connect various tokens to each other to maximize human potential?
  • How could we utilize digital scarcity, non-fungible tokens, or digital collectables for social good?

Mining

  • Can we use passive distributed mining networks to create investment funding opportunities for the UNICEF Venture Fund? (more on cryptocurrency mining)

And + The funding is not necessarily limited to the above. They are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable. If you are aligned with their general criteria, they 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.

The submissions deadline is February 28th, 2018. We encourage you to submit your application when ready as they will be reviewing on an ongoing basis. Only shortlisted companies will be contacted and then requested to submit a more in-depth proposal.

Funding

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