UNICEF’s Venture Fund explores early-stage emerging technologies with the potential to impact children and young people. The Office of Innovation’s portfolio approach focuses its efforts on the most challenging problems UNICEF is trying to solve for and with children and young people, through 9 thematic portfolios. Through this call for proposals, we are seeking frontier tech solutions that can address problems across a variety of portfolios including climate change, WASH, youth and humanitarian portfolios. These portfolio areas, among others, prioritize solutions that improve service delivery and policies; empower and actively engage young people; and improve equity in access to essential services for children.
What we’re looking for:
We are currently looking to invest in companies developing software solutions using frontier technologies for climate action. Examples of areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
Area 1: Are you developing platforms for Climate Analytics, Predictions or Forecasting? Or is your startup creating solutions to contribute to a greener economy? This could include solutions such as:
Mapping tools leveraging remote sensing or satellite imagery to improve service delivery for health, nutrition, water and waste management
Leveraging drone technology to capture data for climate analytics; linking data collected by drones to data science to generate better insights for predictive models
Using data science to understand the relationships between different variables that impact development indicators (i.e., learning, socio-economic, health, or infrastructure).
Developing computing models to generate weather simulations for stable energy production that can generate insights for countries or specific regions
3D modelling for disaster simulations and climate projections
Low-cost renewable and self-sustainable energy solutions for health and education institutions
Using ML/AI to predict water quality and groundwater levels in water scarce settings as well as identify and map deep groundwater aquifers
IoT sensors for monitoring water quality and/or groundwater in real-time to generate better insights for predictive models and improve service delivery
Area 2: Is your startup building tools to address Climate and Disaster Risk Mitigation? Or are you trying to use frontier technology to generate new insights from data to address the impact of climate risks? This could include solutions such as:
Measuring socioeconomic effects of natural disasters, increase in temperature and precipitation on populations, e.g., using open drone imagery & AI to predict the impact of flooding on access to health services for children or leveraging AI to predict the effect of climate change on children
Disaster alert monitoring and early warning systems and mitigation strategies
Leverage AI for drone distribution to automate drone flight paths immediately after an emergency event to collect live imagery
Building a data platform to store and rapidly assess damage caused after natural disasters, to promote child protection and safety in affected areas
Using extended reality platforms to train first responders (or community members) in case of emergencies
Area 3: Are you creating software solutions for Predicting, Measuring or Accounting Carbon Emissions? Or are you providing new ways to Incentivize or Deliver Carbon Offsets? This could include solutions such as:
Using data science for accurate and verifiable measurement of carbon emissions or predictive carbon/greenhouse gas emissions that can enable governments to make climate-informed policy decisions, as well as develop forecasts based on current emissions
Developing a smart contract-based carbon credit ecosystem
Carbon capture and storage technologies related to local polluting sources
Pooling green energy markets using smart contracts
Area 4: Is your solution Empowering Communities and young people to meaningfully engage with systems in new ways for Climate Action? This could include solutions such as:
Extended reality applications to help governments visualize climate change and its effects; or to teach children about climate change using predictions impact scenarios
Promoting climate positive action through gamified applications or tokens
Enabling certifying or auditing organizations to easily start providing verifiable certificates on the blockchain, which can eventually be tied to real-world action and tracked on-chain
Generating new data through field data collection, crowdsourcing or social network platforms
Our funding is not necessarily limited to the above. We are interested in companies that use frontier technologies in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable.
If 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 to benefit 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 are:
Addressing challenges to accelerate results for children.
Optimized for low-resource environments (e.g., low connectivity, mobile access).
Focus on reducing, rather than widening, inequalities.
Able to deliver in multiple languages, including smaller languages.