What it's all about?

What are Digital Public Goods?

Open-source software, open data, open AI systems, and open content collections that adhere to privacy and other applicable best practices, do no harm by design, and are of high relevance for attainment of SDGs. The concept of Digital Public Goods is mandated and supported by the SG's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

​Any Digital Public Good  must be Open Source.​

Why does it matter?

FAST FORWARD FROM THE PAST​

At the end of the XIX century, Western world-dominating countries claimed ownership over dozens of nations under the premise that they had no sovereignty, skills and resources to properly manage their own affairs. At the beginning of the XXI century, we are facing a digital version of this process.​

Global South Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI: a country's technology infrastructure for the public) is often outsourced to foreign companies. Therefore:​

- The Global South is declined ownership and power to have their own technology manage regional DPI​

- Profit – not regional public good – is often point of departure for countries' DPI.​

- Outside technology extracts, analyzes, and owns the Global South user data for profit and market.​

- Instead of South-South digital cooperation, foreign actors erect digital borders.​

- Solutions are built by engineers who have no first-hand knowledge of local contexts and challenges.​

- Youth, the future generation who will use and maintain these infrastructures, aren't part of the equation.

We’re doing away with the past. We're building a generation in charge of their own digital future. DPGs fast forward digital development towards equity. 

Why does it matter to young people?

About 67% of young people feel they have limited to no control over how technology will impact their lives in the next 10 years.
https://ureport.in/opinion/6212/

Giving youth what they deserve

​How can they think otherwise if they didn’t participate in designing it?​

By outsourcing digital architecture to foreign actors, we're excluding today's youth from taking control of their own digital destiny. We’re also depriving them from:​

  • Employment opportunities​

  • Rationale for skill development​

  • Sense of hope and purpose that they can bring meaningful change to their region​

Funding

Funding

Up to 100,000 in seed funding and up to 400,000 in growth funding in USD and/or cryptocurrency.

The Venture Fund invests up to 100,000 in USD and/or cryptocurrency in early-stage, open-source, frontier tech solutions in underserved markets to validate, test, and shape technology that can potentially address large-scale challenges for children. Solutions that graduate seed-stage funding and are selected for growth funding can get up to 400,000 in USD and/or cryptocurrency to scale their impact. 

Support

support

Tailored mentorship for the solution's requirements

The Fund provides tailored one-on-one mentoring with our in-house technical experts based on the solution’s unique needs. This takes place throughout the investment period and focuses on topics such as value proposition, Open Source development, evidence of impact, business strategy,  product design, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Access

Access

Access to UNICEF network and partners

Startups can leverage our unique testing environments and pilot opportunities in UNICEF country offices. We also provide access to our corporate partners for potential follow-on funding.

Where we invest

We invest in local, on the ground problem solvers

We are committed to creating impact by investing in companies working in emerging tech markets

Map background

Our application process

eligibility check

Eligibility check

Month 0 Companies interested in applying to the Venture Fund need to check the eligibility criteria
click to open accordion What kind of ideas and companies will the Venture Fund support?
click to open accordion Who can submit an Expression of Interest and what are the eligibility criteria?
click to open accordion If I am a non-profit organization or NGO can I submit an Expression Of Interest tothe fund?
click to open accordion If I am a student, can I submit an Expression Of Interest for funding for a school/university project?
click to open accordion Do I have to have a degree or a university qualification to qualify?
click to open accordion If my company is situated in a country that is not included in the UNICEF Programme Countries list, am I still eligible to submit an Expression Of Interest?
click to open accordion Is it possible for NGOs to apply in collaboration with companies?
click to open accordion What does it mean to have a "working prototype"? Should the whole solution be ready at the moment of application?
click to open accordion Can I outsource the technical expertise in my venture?
click to open accordion Why does each company need to provide real-time data about its project?
click to open accordion My project is currently not Open Source but I’m willing to Open Source it. What do I need to do to be able to be considered for funding?
click to open accordion Do all components of the technology used or proposed to be developed need to be Open Source? Can projects that use a combination of technology products - some Open Source and some closed licenses - qualify to receive funds from the Venture Fund?
Interest

expression of interest

Month 1 Companies interested should complete an online application via the Venture Fund website. The application form must include all required information and supporting documents as indicated
click to open accordion Once a company is selected, what information are we required to share?
click to open accordion What return does the fund look for from the investments it has made?
Request for proposals

request for proposal

Month 2-3 The Venture Fund carefully assesses all applications. Shortlisted companies will then be notified and invited to submit a comprehensive proposal called the Request for Proposal (RFP)
click to open accordion Once a company is selected, what information are we required to share?
click to open accordion What return does the fund look for from the investments it has made?
Short listing

demo interview

Month 4-5 Following a careful evaluation of the RFP, companies selected will be invited to an online demo interview. This 30-minute interview offers the opportunity to interact with the Venture Fund team and experts from our frontier technology teams
Investees announced

announcement of investees

Month 6 Upon evaluating the application, RFP, and demo interview, the Venture Fund finalizes the investment decision and notifies selected companies. Onboarding begins, and an official announcement is made on public channels.
click to open accordion Once a company is selected, what information are we required to share?
click to open accordion What return does the fund look for from the investments it has made?
click to open accordion How will I know if I have been accepted for funding?
click to open accordion If the company receives funding, does UNICEF own the product or idea?
click to open accordion If my company gets selected for funding, what is the company’s legal status vis-a-vis UNICEF?

our contribution to open source

We exclusively invest in open source solutions to collectively build Digital Public Goods that can benefit each individual