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UNICEF announces addition of six start-up companies to 2018 investment portfolio

© UNICEF/UN013393/Khonje
On 14 March 2016, children in Malawi look on amazed in the community demonstration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones) flying in Lilongwe.

NEW YORK  8 December 2017 – Six start-up businesses providing solutions to improve children’s lives using frontier technologies such as data science, virtual reality (VR), drones and artificial intelligence (A.I) will receive funding from the Innovation Fund, UNICEF announced today. 
 
The $12.6 million fund provides capital to emerging tech companies to develop technological solutions from frontier tech sectors that have the potential to improve the lives of the most marginalised children.
 
“Through the fund, UNICEF has the opportunity to shape the emerging technology market to benefit some of the world's most vulnerable children. Through the application process we identified cutting edge technologies clustered around $100 billion industries with the potential to address inequalities and provide life-changing solutions for children.”

“Our goal is to continue to identify and invest in these solutions. We’ve chosen an ambitious cohort for our third round of investments and we’re looking forward to working with them,” said Sunita Grote, UNICEF Innovation Fund Manager.
 
The fund's strategy also involved investing in frontier technologies providing innovative solutions to challenges faced by children with disabilities. Three startups will receive funding to develop technology to support children who struggle to communicate verbally: CIREHA, Ninaad Digital Technology and Beijing Daokoudai.
 
In addition, VR technology company Ideasis aims to resolve phobias and social adaptation problems of young people and children. The Turkey-based firm hopes its platform will contribute to psychosocial interventions used in refugee camps to rehabilitate children from conflict and crisis areas.
 
Autonomous Systems Research will develop software and hardware for aerial missions using drones to gather information and images from hard-to-reach areas that could inform emergency response and other humanitarian interventions.
 
In the State of Palestine, RedCrow provides a platform for people to point out dangerous incidents and places - visualized through maps using a mobile application and a website.

In its first year, UNICEF Innovation Fund invested in eight startups which have successfully launched their problem-solving technologies using open-source platforms to deliver technology solutions that improve real time data collection, identity technology and learning.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting technology start-ups to apply for investment and become part of this growing portfolio of open source solutions. Applications are open and can be made at www.unicefinnovationfund.org.  

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Note to editors:
Progress made by portfolio projects are monitored in real time and displayed in detail: https://unicefinnovationfund.org/
 
About the six start-ups:

• Turkey based Ideasis is developing VR technology to resolve phobias and social adaptation problems of young people and children.
• Ninaad Digital Technology, an Indian based company is developing Jellow communicator using open source, a free to download Android application to address speech impairment.
• In Argentina, CIREHA is developing C Board, enabling children with speech and language impairments to communicate by symbols and text-to-speech in offline environments.
• Beijing Daokoudai in China are working on Yuudee 2, a tool to help children with autism develop complex sentence structures to express themselves. 
• Autonomous Systems Research from Kenya will develop software and hardware for aerial missions using drones to gather information and images from hard to reach areas that could inform emergency response and other humanitarian interventions.
• RedCrow from the State of Palestine provides a platform for people to point out dangerous incidents and places - visualized through maps using a mobile application and a website.

About UNICEF Innovation
UNICEF Innovation is an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF’s work. We build and scale innovations that improve children’s lives around the world. For more information about UNICEF’s work in innovation, visit: www.unicef.org/innovation and www.unicefstories.org

Follow UNICEF Innovation on Twitter.

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact:
Gbolayemi Lufadeju, UNICEF New York, 917 213 4034, glufadeju@unicef.org

 

 


 

 

 

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