Innovation Fund

UNICEF's Innovation (Venture) Fund is a newly established, non-thematic, pooled fund which has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children.

The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify "clusters" or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology - so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. We find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: blockchain, UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, machine learning, quantum computing, genetic engineering, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites and human dynamics.

The Fund has raised $11.2 million so far and focuses its investments on three portfolio areas:

PRODUCTS FOR YOUTH

INFRASTRUCTURE

REAL-TIME INFORMATION

Products for youth under 25 address a range of needs including learning and youth participation. Emerging technologies can help overcome barriers that prevent young people from accessing information and services. The ability for young people to connect to each other and counsel each other also allows them to share and scale their own solutions.

Innovation to strengthen infrastructure, including connectivity, power, and transport holds great promise in increasing access to services and information.

Real-time information allows the situation of the most vulnerable to be understood by those who have an ability to address their circumstance. Real-time data can help identify where disparities are greatest, who is being reached, who is not using essential services, and why this is the case. Products that produce real-time information strengthen systems, improving monitoring, transparency, and accountability.

The Innovation Fund has been designed to fund open source solutions from early-stage technology startups. This funding can go either to UNICEF Country Offices or to private sector companies in UNICEF programme countries. Through its investments, the Innovation Fund is generating value by strengthening communities of problem solvers, increasing open source intellectual property and growing solutions that bring results for children. The Fund also invests in early-stage "knowledge products" - operations research that is published in the public domain and supports investment strategies and decisions. 

Learn more about the Innovation Fund and the submition process: unicefinnovationfund.org