UNICEF looks to seed humanitarian drone startups



ImpactAlpha, July 9 – Companies like Zipline are using drones to deliver urgent products and services, like medical supplies, to hard to reach and crisis areas. UNICEF wants to cultivate a startup sector building software solutions, machine learning and data analytics so drones can be more effectively used for humanitarian causes.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund for Drone Startups is a seed fund for startups developing for-profit business models for flight management and delivery software; new services in healthcare, agriculture and other sectors; and risk management and flight safety tools.

  • Earliest stage… It will offer up to $100,000 for prototype testing and proof of concept validation. It’s open to startups on an applicaiton basis through July 22. Startups selected will be able to test their solutions in UNICEF’s “drone corridor” in Malawi.
  • Innovation capital… UNICEF’s drone fund is the the latest startup fund from the humanitarian organization’s Innovation Fund. The Innovation makes “equity free” investments; the intent of the fund is to provide catalytic seed capital to very early stage, for-profit humanitarian startups. It has raised $14.4 million and backed 57 startups in 35 countries with $3.9 million, including social impact blockchain and virtual reality startups.

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