UNICEF recently announced that it will be launching a new venture fund for civic technology. In many parts of the world, there is little funding available for accelerating the development of new ideas. Now UNICEF is democratizing the technology sector by starting a venture capital-style fund for open-source civic technology.
The new venture fund consists of $9 million worth of funding for projects that can benefit children all over the world. The program is largely aimed at developing new technology such as medical delivery drones and blockchain-based ID systems. The money is largely supplied by the governments of countries such as Finland and Denmark, as well as private organizations such as the Page Family Foundation and the Walt Disney Company Foundation. Though UNICEF will not take any equity from the inventors, it does exercise some control over the projects in order to ensure that the technology is open source. As Christopher Fabian explains, "We can help to shape companies as they create products that help the bottom quintile of consumers."
As the tech industry becomes increasingly global, there is a need for programs such as the UNICEF venture fund to accelerate new ideas in countries that lack the resources to do so on their own.