2018 UNICEF Innovation Funding Opportunity for Tech Start-ups ($100K equity-free investments)

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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 through the use of drones.

If you’ve got a start-up registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries and have a working, open-source drone prototype or service (or you are willing to make it open-source) showing promising results, the UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking for you.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 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.

If your company and project meet the eligibility criteria and is aligned with the tech use cases we have outlined above, visit our site to read more about the application process and submit an application.

Examples of these include, but are not limited to:
Blockchain: Using distributed ledger technologies to reduce the cost and to increase the speed, transparency, identity and accountability of financial transactions.
*Click here to read more about the kind of blockchain startups we are looking for.
Drones: Developing software modules that can improve drone operations, data processing and sharing or supply chain management systems for testing drones in areas with low connectivity.
Virtual and Augmented Reality: Providing new, immersive ways that can enhance our learning experience, expand our understanding of complex systems and improve how we interact with one another.
*Click here to read more about the kind of VR/AR startups we are looking for.
Data Science: Compiling and analyzing large data collections where they are scarce, allowing the visualization of large amounts of data in intuitive ways, or creating new machine learning models and frameworks for using data more effectively.
*Click here to read more about the kind of DS startups we are looking for.
Artificial Intelligence: Using AI tools (such as optimization or pattern recognition) or the newest Deep Learning or Transfer Learning techniques to address social or environmental problems.
And + Our funding is not necessarily limited to the above. We are interested in companies that apply tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable and  globally applicable. If you are aligned with our general criteria, we 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.

Benefits:

  • The Fund provides $50- $100,000 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.
  • Networks and platforms. UNICEF Ventures has a Drones lead and data science team with access to corporate and academic partnerships and use cases that selected drones 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.
  • Drone Corridor.Selected start-ups will have access to the UNICEF Drone corridor in Malawi providing the physical space for testing their solutions. Data from peer companies testing in the three drone  corridors where UNICEF is present will be made available.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the UNICEF Funding Opportunity for Tech Start-ups