The UNICEF Venture Fund is looking to invest in Open Source frontier technology solutions that have the potential to create radical change in children’s health, nutrition, and mental health. We are offering up to US$100K in equity-free funding for early stage, for-profit technology start-ups that can improve the lives of children. If your company is leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data science (DS), drones, blockchain, or extended reality (XR), we want to hear from you! We are specifically seeking companies registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries that have impressive working prototypes and a commitment to Open Source licensing.
Female and youth-led/founded startups are encouraged to apply! If you’re ready to make a global impact, reach out!
Application Deadline: 20 October 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on global health, nutrition and mental health indicators for children. It has also amplified the persistent inequities in access to quality healthcare, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Factors such as where a child is born, their gender and their household’s socio-economic status greatly influence their survival and overall wellbeing. Challenges like distance, cost, trust and lack of medical supplies or trained personnel also make it difficult to access quality care. As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s crucial to enhance the skills and capacity of frontline workers, especially in fragile contexts and vulnerable populations to strengthen health (including immunization), nutrition and mental health.
Despite these challenges, the pandemic has also opened up opportunities for innovation in health, nutrition and mental health programmes using digital solutions. Though the Venture Fund is actively seeking to invest in digital solutions as they have enormous potential, we encourage applicants to consider how these same tools may also increase children’s exposure to online risks and harms. For UNICEF, it is crucial to ensure child online safety given that digital technologies are becoming increasingly integrated in young peoples’ lives.
Area 1: How might we improve equity and access to services for health, nutrition, mental health and psychosocial support for children and their families??
Area 2: How might we improve data generation and analysis for health, nutrition, mental health and psychosocial support for children and their families?
Area 3: How might we strengthen workforce capacity, especially in fragile contexts and vulnerable populations for improving health, nutrition, mental health and psychosocial support?
We are not limited to the funding options mentioned. We are actively seeking companies that push the boundaries with frontier technologies in innovative and scalable ways with global relevance.
If you think you meet the UNICEF Venture Fund criteria, we want to hear from you!
UNICEF’s Venture Fund has been specifically designed to finance early stage, Open Source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Venture Fund is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology so that UNICEF can both shape markets and learn about and guide these technologies for children. We invest in solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces such as blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
The Venture Fund is particularly seeking solutions that:
At UNICEF, we prioritize solutions that not only leverage advanced technologies but also uphold strict data protection measures and safeguarding principles to prioritize individuals’ privacy and wellbeing. Additionally, we value a comprehensive approach that strengthens systems and services, recognizing the importance of building resilient and sustainable infrastructure to effectively support health and mental health initiatives, to achieve lasting positive outcomes in the long run.
Read our FAQ’s about the process: https://www.unicefventurefund.org/apply-funding#process
Read more about the eligibility criteria and scoring: Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI)
Previously funded projects: https://www.unicefventurefund.org/portfolio
Read more about the Startup selection process
What happens after you receive an investment: Portfolio Management Experience
For any questions regarding the application process, please write to us here
***The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines living with a disability as having a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment that – in interaction with the environment – hinders one’s participation in society on an equal basis with others.