Matt Halprin is a Partner leading Omidyar Network's Media and Stephen King is the Director of Investments and is based in London. They introduced us to the work of Omidyar Network which invests in market-based efforts to give people the technology tools they need to improve their lives.
The network was set up in 2004 by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, and his wife Pam. It comprises both a venture capital fund and a grant-making foundation. The network has a strong focus on individual empowerment and is committed to market-based solutions, believing that business is one of the best mechanisms for achieving sustainable social impact. Omidyar looks to invest in projects that have potential to impact large numbers of people and that show signs of real innovation - for example, new business models or new markets.
So far $307 million has been committed, with $138 million going to for-profit investments and $169 million to non-profit grants. There are two broad areas of focus:
Projects in the Unities States include:
In the developing world, Omidyar looks to supports access to greater information and government transparency, which it views as key drivers of prosperity. The network is supporting global organizations, national partners in three African countries (Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya) and is establishing a pan-African mechanism for smaller grants. Current global projects include: