Three African blockchain startups will receive up to US$100,000 in grant funding from the UNICEF Venture Fund, which aims to support early-stage businesses in solving local and global challenges.
The UNICEF Venture Fund will invest in seven chosen blockchain startups in six countries after receiving 450 submissions from 77 countries, with solutions addressing the fact that 1.7 billion people around the world remain unbanked.
Five of the seven selected startups will receive a portion of the investment in Ether. Five of the startups are also female-led. Two of the companies are from Kenya, one from Rwanda, and the rest from Argentina, India, Mexico, and Nepal.
The Kenyan investees are Grassroots Economics, which runs programs that empower marginalized communities to take charge of their own livelihoods and economic future, and Kotani Pay, a technology stack that enables blockchain protocols, dapps, and blockchain fintech companies to integrate seamlessly into local payment channels.
Leaf is a Rwandan startup offering virtual banking services to vulnerable citizens crossing borders, connecting people to their own savings conveniently and affordably.
“COVID-19 has impacted children and their communities, and many around the world will continue to see their lives disrupted significantly. We can see how important inclusive and affordable digital solutions are, including those that open access to financial systems and services,” said UNICEF Ventures lead Sunita Grote.
“As we look into building back better, we need to tap into and support innovators and problem solvers to ensure systems are transparent, efficient, and decentralized — and that they include the traditionally underserved.”