Treejer Protocol receives investment from UNICEF Innovation Fund

04 August 2021
Treejer Protocol receives investment from UNICEF Innovation Fund

The local team of forest management protocol, Treejer, in Iran has become one of eight startups worldwide to have received investment from UNICEF Innovation Fund through the call announced in 2020.

Treejer is an open protocol that acts as a transparent bridge between tree funders to rural planters. The project is experimenting with cutting-edge concepts to unlock new opportunities in climate finance and rural development. In this project, Individuals and organizations are encouraged to fund trees and local communities are paid to plant and maintain them as they grow.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has awarded Treejer and 7 other new startups developing open-source, blockchain-based solutions toward greater financial inclusion. Treejer will receive equity-free investment through the UNICEF and year-long mentorship with UNICEF’s technical and programme experts and partners to implement its activities in close collaboration with UNICEF Iran the national organizations such as Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization.

In 2020, the Innovation Fund launched a funding opportunity for startups with the potential to benefit humanity. The Fund received 450 submissions from 77 programme countries.

After the review process, the Innovation Fund has announced its first cohort of blockchain companies focused on financial inclusion. Solutions will focus on cross-border transfers, community currency, access to saving and lending services, and more. 

Five of the eight selected companies are female-led, bringing the Fund’s share of female-led startups in its total portfolio to 40%, as part of its Smart Investing initiative.  

The COVID-19 pandemic created economic hardships and has had compounding impacts on many aspects of children’s lives. While some saw life continued online, many who couldn’t access digital services from education, to health, to social protection and financial services became increasingly excluded from the opportunity to thrive.  

The goal of the UNICEF Innovation Fund is to explore digital solutions that can close these gaps and contribute to a future where every child can survive and thrive. The Fund does this by investing in emerging markets and a diverse set of entrepreneurs; investing in digital public goods; and blockchain-based solutions.  

Blockchain-based solutions allow for greater transparency and efficiency of systems, promote data sharing across multiple parties, and facilitate community engagement in decision-making. 

Launched in 2016, the UNICEF Innovation Fund is specifically designed to finance early-stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. It has made 118 investments in digital public goods across 57 countries.  It is the first venture capital vehicle in the UN for investing in digital public goods, supporting internal UNICEF capacity as well as entrepreneurial capacity in UNICEF programme countries.  


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