Through its Innovation Fund, UNICEF seeks to invest in 30 startups in 2018

The UNICEF Innovation Fund, through the organisation assesses, funds and grows open-source solutions that can improve children’s lives, targets to identify and invest in about 30 startups in 2018. Through the Innovation Fund, UNICEF provides both financial and technological support to selected projects and companies that are using technology in innovative ways to improve and address related to the well-being of children globally.

So far, the Innovation Fund has made 51  investments in 28 countries.

The Innovation Fund identifies “clusters” (or portfolios) of initiatives around emerging technology, thereby enabling UNICEF to shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. The Fund brings together models of financing and methodologies used by venture capital funds and the principles of UNICEF’s Office of Innovation.

The Innovation Fund supports the generation of open source solutions that address the most pressing
challenges facing children.

“We find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: blockchain, UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, machine learning, quantum computing, genetic engineering, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites and human dynamics,” states UNICEF on its Innovation Fund portal.

In 2018, UNICEF Innovation Fund is seeking open-source projects that have already been started (or companies that have been running the project for a while) and show some positive indicators but require funding to take the project to a level where it can really attract additional investment and funding by generating real data.

“The UNICEF Innovation Fund can help with investments between $50,000 and $90,000 to support the acceleration of the company’s work. By investing in multiple concurrent teams working on similar problems and technology stacks the Fund can accelerate both the production of products, as well as the building, iteration, and exit of the teams around the technologies,” UNICEF states on its website.

The Fund, which has endowment of US $11 million contributed by private and public investors and supporters, also invests in early-stage “knowledge products” – that is operations research that is published in the public domain and supports investment strategies and decisions.

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