Unicef to provide drone startups with up to $100k zero-equity funding

Are you running a drone startup and are looking for funding? Unicef, through its Innovation Fund, is looking to make up to $100 000 in zero-equity investments in drone startups that have the potential to benefit humanity.

The funding opportunity is open to drone startups that are registered in Unicef’s programme countries. Innovators with a working, open-source drone prototype or service — under the BSD, CERN or CC-BY licenses — have until 22 July to apply.

The Unicef Innovation Fund will provide selected startups with between $50 000 and $100 000 in equity-free seed funding for use in prototype testing and validation.

Unicef will provide selected startups with between $50 000 and $100 000, technical assistance and access to its 6500m2 drone corridor in Malawi

In addition, the selected startups will also be provided with technical assistance from the Unicef Ventures team, as well as access to Unicef’s networks and platforms. Unicef will also provide the selected startups with access to its 6500m2 drone corridor in Malawi.

The Unicef Innvovation Fund is looking for startups developing solutions that include:

Software to collect, share and analyse data from drones in low-connectivity areas

  • Remote transfer or processing of visual data over low bandwidth networks.
  • Artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms for feature detection and counting.
  • Data management portal and stakeholder access protocol management

Software to manage flight and delivery operations

  • Manage supply chain payments and quality of assets for sensitive products.
  • Load, delivery or flight navigation optimisation
  • Digital management of delivery execution
  • Feature detection to land or drop deliveries autonomously on landing pads.

Business models and sustainable drone services in emerging markets

  • Develop new services through the use of existing third-party drones for transport, image capturing and analysis. Use cases include supporting health care, crop disease detection, risk mapping, search and rescue, as well as disaster preparedness.
  • Explore ways to combine existing services into multi-role service applications.

Air Safety, risk management tools and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Systems

  • Simulation or predictive tools for managing altitude, navigation deconfliction, schedules, routings, or fleet management.
  • Use case specific risk assessment tools (integratable with ICAO, EASA, NASA or other internationally recognised frameworks in development)
  • Applications for field operations and decision-making process management
  • Machine-to-machine or vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) anti-collision software, and neural networks

Startups with open source, modular hardware solutions will also be considered.



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