UNICEF’s Innovation Fund has opened applications from early-stage and potentially high impact blockchain startups. UNICEF is looking to make equity-free investments of up to US$100,000 in these startups.
UNICEF is interested in startups in spaces such as:
- Finance: Solutions in this space enable people to use, earn and hold cryptocurrencies, allow people to access decentralized financial instruments, explore new models to empower communities to act as their own economic hubs and make financial systems more transparent.
Connect: These startups allow various group to work together in a transparent and accountable nature (i.e. supply-chain, contract management, data tracking, etc.) and/or enable decentralized deal-making, for example through decentralized marketplaces.
Empower: Startups in this category explore new ways of making decisions (i.e. using a decentralized method such as DAOS to determine what projects should receive funding) and/or protect user data collected through solutions through zero-knowledge proofs or other mechanisms.
UNICEF, which is active in 190 countries, is however not limiting applicants to the aforementioned categories. Their website reads, “We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable.”
Tunisian startup, Utopixar, received a UNICEF grant in 2018.
The US$ 100,000 is intended for use by the startups for prototyping and concept validation.
Apart from seed funding, grant recipients will have access to a host of other resources. These include:
1. Seed funding: The Fund provides up to $100,000 in equity-free seed funding, in USD. The investment is intended for prototype testing and validation, and to get it to a stage where the company has proof that the solution works.
- Crypto funding: Selected startups also have the opportunity to receive part of their funding in cryptocurrency. The UNICEF CryptoFund disburses funds in both bitcoin and ether.
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 blockchain and computer science team with access to corporate partnerships and use cases that selected blockchain start-ups can benefit from.
Product and Technology Development: Investees receive technical assistance from the UNICEF Ventures team and dedicated expert mentors to help validate and improve their solutions.
Maximize impact: As the world’s leading organization for children, UNICEF has a network of experts and partners across its Country Offices who can provide localized advice and partnerships needed to reach more users.
UNICEF is also providing the option for successful applicants to receive their grants in cryptocurrency; Bitcoin or Ether.
Interested startups should learn more details and apply here.