Announced Monday, UNICEF is investing $100,000 in six blockchain startups to “solve global challenges using blockchain technology,” ranging from healthcare delivery transparency to managing finances and resources.
The investments are part of a broader program which already funds 20 technology startups, according to a press release.
Each of these startups is based in a developing economy, with firms based out of Argentina, Mexico, India, Tunisia and Bangladesh.
The six recipients are Atix Labs and Onesmart, which are developing platforms for tracking finances; Prescrypto, which is building a platform to track patient histories; Statwig, which is working to ensure vaccine delivery with a supply chain platform; Utopixar, which is working on a social collaboration tool; and W3 Engineers, which is looking to develop an offline networking system that does not require internet access.
- Atix Labs, based in Argentina, is building a platform for other small to medium-sized businesses to access funding in a way that offers traceability as to how the funds are used.
- Onesmart based in Mexico is developing an application to ensure the delivery of state-provided social services, addressing the issue of the misuse of social funds in emerging markets.
- Prescrypto, also in Mexico will improve the availability of electronic prescriptions by building a platform for patient medical histories.
- India-based Statwig is creating a blockchain solution for the supply-chain management of vaccines to improve the efficiency of vaccine delivery.
- In Bangladesh, W3 Engineers are hoping to connect migrant and refugee communities with an offline mobile networking platform that doesn’t need a sim card or stable internet connection.
- Utopixar, based in Tunisia, will build a social tool for decision-making and the transfer of value which will be used by communities and other organisations.
UNICEF Innovation principal advisor Chris Fabian explained in a statement that the fund invests in projects “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.”
On top of the funding, UNICEF will provide assistance with the products and technology, as well as share access to its network of partners and experts.
The companies are expected to deliver open-source prototypes of their projects over the next 12 months.