The UNICEF Innovation Fund is a pooled funding vehicle to quickly assess, fund and grow open-source solutions that have been developed in new and emerging markets.
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. They invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. They find these solutions clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier technology spaces, such as: blockchain, UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, quantum computing, genetic engineering, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites and human dynamics.
The Fund has raised $14.38 million so far and focuses its investments on three portfolio areas:
- Products for Youth
- Real-Time Information
The IF 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.