Startups
The UNICEF Innovation Fund will invest up to $100,000 in six companies that it picked from across 50 developing and emerging economies.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)’s innovation fund, which aims to solve global challenges using blockchain technology has picked Six companies from developing and emerging economies to invest in. out of the six companies, Hyderabad-based StaTwig is the only startup from India to get selected.

Founded by Sid Chakravarthy in early 2017, StaTwig’s solution leverages IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain to track all products in the supply chain and gather data about each product. Access to such data helps in preventing failures of distribution, predicting the demand and capacity levels, and reducing the cost and wastage of all limited resources. StaTwig is currently based out of Hyderabad and is a part of startup engine T-Hub. 

The UNICEF Innovation Fund will invest up to $100,000 in the six companies: Atix Labs, Onesmart, Prescrypto, StaTwig, Utopixar and W3 Engineers to deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12-months.  

Over 100 companies applied for the fund across 50 countries. As per a statement from UNICEF, these six companies will build prototypes and systems for global problems like transparency in health-care delivery, affordable access to mobile phone connectivity, and the ability to direct finances and resources to social-impact projects.

The six companies will join 20 more technology startups that are being managed by the fund in areas ranging from data science and machine learning, to virtual reality, to drones.

“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage -- and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world. That's exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible,” said Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser, UNICEF Innovation said in a statement.

These investments are part of UNICEF's larger blockchain explorations of using smart-contracts for organizational efficiencies, creating distributed decision-making processes, and working to build knowledge and understanding of distributed ledger technology both in the United Nations and in the countries where UNICEF works.

Here are the six companies:

StaTwig from India will use blockchain solutions to ensure the efficient delivery of vaccines through an enhanced supply-chain management system.

From Argentine, Atix Labs will develop a platform for small to medium-sized enterprises to gain access to funding while creating traceability into where the funds are used and measuring the impact.

Onesmart from Mexico will address the misappropriation of funds in emerging markets with the scale of its prototype application, which ensures the delivery of state-provided social services to children and young people.    

Also from Mexico, Prescrypto will provide a digital solution to the lack of electronic prescriptions in developing countries with a platform that allows medical services providers to view one common history of a patient, and improve the level of care.

Utopixar, a Tunisian company will deliver a social collaboration tool for communities and organisations to facilitate participative decision-making and value transfer.

From Bangladesh, W3 Engineers, will improve connectivity within the refugee and migrant communities through an offline mobile networking platform without the use of sim cards and internet connection.

In addition to funding these statups, UNICEF’s Innovation Fund will also provide product and technology assistance, support with business growth, and access to a network of experts and partners.

The Fund also actively seeks second-round investment and support for companies it has invested in, as well as the opportunity to scale-up these technologies, when they are successful, in the more than 190 countries and territories where UNICEF operates.