UNICEF continues blockchain investment with 6 new startups funded

11 Dec, 2018 | Updated: 11 Dec, 2018
by Ryan Boltman
News
UNICEF continues blockchain investment with 6 new startups funded

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) will be investing $100,000 into six blockchain projects focused solely on emerging markets. The initiative is backed by the UNICEF Innovation Fund, which operates as a VC fund for companies in emerging markets only.

The goal of the funding will be for each startup to develop an open source prototype over the next year. Forbes reports that the $17.9 million venture fund is investing in "companies that are open source and that can be combined with each other during the investment period" according to principle advisor, Chris Fabian.

The venture fund has invested in over 33 startups in 23 countries so far, focusing on frontier technologies such as data science, machine learning, drones, and more recently, blockchain.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund first invested in blockchain in 2016 through a South African startup. So the recent additions are not something new to the company.

Fabian explains that the purpose of investing in blockchain startups is to one day assist in the procurement process for things such as vaccines, “We see these as provocations as the beginning of a learning journey,” he says, “and as things that we can eventually integrate parts of into our larger work.”

The six startups being funded by UNICEF include Atix Labs from Argentina, Onesmart and Prescrypto from Mexico, Statwig from India, Utopixar from Tunisia, and W3 Engineers from Bangladesh. These projects were selected from more than 100 applications and could potentially assist in solving a variety of global issues in the future.

Also Read: UNICEF France now accepts donations in the form of cryptocurrency

Sunita Grote, Innovation Fund Manager for UNICEF concluded that the fund was looking for projects who had an early prototype, and that would make their technology open source. Also, a diversified team was of importance to the fund, “We know that this makes teams more effective,” Grote says.

UNICEF continues to explore the possibilities of potential partnerships with their investment startups to improve service delivery in emerging markets. The goal of potentially integrating blockchain technology across the globe would be a huge step for adoption worldwide and for better service delivery to those that potentially need help the most. The new startups will also receive access to the UN's network of experts, partners, and mentors. This will also provide them with a platform to potentially secure a second round investment in order to grow further.

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