The UNICEF Innovation Fund recently announced that six new drone startups, developing open-source, emerging technology digital public goods to address global challenges and create fairer opportunities for children and young people, will receive seed funding from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund. Among the six drone startups, there is Cloudline, a South African drone startup founded by a former Mobius Motors executive, Spencer Horne, has been selected to receive seed funding from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund.

The South African drone startup operates small-scale autonomous airships that have longer endurance and range than current commercial drones; their solution will help deliver medical supplies to hard-to-reach communities and reduce operational costs in the last-mile.

Cloudline was chosen alongside five other drone startups developing open-source, emerging technology digital public goods to address global challenges and create fairer opportunities for children and young people.

The five others are Bioverse Labs (Brazil), Dronfies Labs (Uruguay), Prokura Innovations (Nepal), qAira (Peru), and Rentadrone (Chile).

These investments (up to $100k) are part of UNICEF’s larger drones programme exploring the use of the technology for a range of applications, including humanitarian supply chain systems and delivery, improved connectivity in hard-to-reach communities, and aerial imaging for better preparedness and response in emergencies.

Cloudline Africa The team at Cloudline Africa test their autonomous airship

The companies will not only benefit from the seed investment provided by UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, but will also gain access to four humanitarian drone testing corridors in Africa and Central Asia, and UNICEF’s Ventures team and networks, providing support from technical assistance to networking with industry leaders, as well as creating a community around the open-source solutions developed.

Drone testing corridors located in Kasungu, Malawi; Akmola and Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Freetown, Sierra Leone.