UNICEF has just announced its first portfolio of investments in open source technology solutions including tools that improve connectivity, real time data collection, identity technology and learning and it includes support for a startup called 9Needs from South Africa which uses Blockchain and advances in identity technology to create better management systems for early childhood development services.
TIn addition to announcing first investments UNICEF has also opened the next round of applications from technology start-ups.
“The UNICEF Innovation Fund is a new way of doing business at the UN; combining the approach of Silicon Valley venture funds with the needs of UNICEF programme countries,” said Cynthia McCaffrey, Director of the UNICEF Office of Innovation.
“Using UNICEF’s 190 offices and 12,000 staff, the Fund will help us source and support companies that might be overlooked by traditional investment vehicles,” McCaffrey added. “The Fund allows us to prototype technology solutions, as well as expand our networks of open source collaborators to improve children’s lives.”
The second portfolio of investments will invest in 20-40 additional companies in 2017.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting technology start-ups to apply for investment and become part of this growing portfolio of open source solutions. The next round of applications for investment from the Fund is now open. Information about who can apply and how to submit Expressions of Interest is available at www.unicefinnovationfund.org. The deadline to apply is 1 January 2017.