The Omidyar Network is spinning off its financial inclusion investment unit, launching a new venture firm with a $300 million pot for backing startups helping people around the world capture economic opportunity.
The Omidyar Network, which is the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, has been investing in financial inclusion-focused fintech startups for more than a decade, building up a $200 million portfolio of more than 40 firms.
Now a new evergreen venture fund, called Flourish, has been created to continue the work with a global team of 18 professionals and another $300 million at its disposal over the next five years.
Flourish points out that, in part thanks to technology, more than one billion people have been financially included over the last decade. However, in many emerging markets more than half of working-age adults still live and work in the informal economy. Even in the US, the majority of households are not financially healthy, often living from paycheck-to-paycheck.
Tilman Ehrbeck, one of three Flourish managing partners, says: “We believe that capital, when deployed to create individual opportunity and change sectors, can shape a more inclusive economy—where everyone does better. That is at the core of Flourish’s mission.
“We have made remarkable progress in bringing people into the formal financial system, but that has not necessarily translated into better economic outcomes—that is the industry’s next challenge.”