The UNICEF Innovation Fund is a vehicle modeled on the support and analysis approaches of successful venture investment structures, that will quickly assess, fund, and scale innovations, both internal to UNICEF and external, that work.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund offers:
- Staged financing to manage risks (grant & equity model)
- Globally rigorous yet regionally sensitive evaluation and monitoring
- A portfolio-based approach to UNICEF’s challenges
- Technical assistance from the globally recognized UNICEF Innovation Team
This fund is a first of its kind experiment that UNICEF is undertaking to encourage Innovations across the globe. The first stage of the Fund aims to churn out self-sustaining projects out of the current stack of innovation projects. Investments will be in the form of small grants first, followed by Venture capital (VC) like equity investments. Projects will be assessed through a VC like assessment and due diligence process. In it’s second phase we will be looking to offer returns on investment to the investors.
Why is UNICEF stepping into a Venture Capitalist’s shoes?
Many UNICEF offices and partners are able to fund the first part of research, development and innovation work – but lack funding to take their efforts to the second and third levels. The UNICEF Innovation Fund addresses this need through rapid, relatively low-value funding for a large number of 2nd stage projects (in the $25-100K range), as well as holding back larger funding ($1M+) for projects that are successful and can scale. This fund will allow successful solutions to connect to markets and opportunities that create scale.
The greatest successes come from failures but the development landscape has been failure averse. This Fund allows for a failure rate as high as 90% if there is chance of huge impact that a project can potentially create. So, this fund enables funding of high-risk projects, which may have high returns but have not been able to gather funds in the current funding scenario.