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After 12 years spent investing in impact-oriented financial services startups around the globe, the Omidyar Network, which serves as the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is spinning off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures.
Equipped with up to $300 million in capital for operations and investments, the new Flourish will continue to invest around the Network’s core mission of backing companies with a dual focus of making a social impact and achieving quality financial returns.
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Already, the new firm is one of the most active financial services investors globally, according to a report from FT Partners.
This double-bottom line approach has already yielded results for the company.
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“After 10 or 12 years with people becoming more broadly interested in the impact investment space, we had an opportunity to reinvent ourselves,” says Tilman Ehrbeck, a managing partner at the newly independent Flourish.
Flourish is actually the third spin-out from Omidyar Network’s investment and philanthropic arms. Two years ago, Omidyar spun out its U.S. emerging technology initiative as Spero, and last year launched a governance and citizen engagement-focused group called Luminate.
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Now the organization, financed by Pam and Pierre Omidyar, will launch Flourish as the latest independent entity.
“We feel that we are the right team at the right place at the right time,” says Ehrbeck.
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Flourish, he says, is launching into a financial services environment that looks far different than it did when the Omidyar Network first identified financial services and inclusion as a focus area for its operations.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, financial services organizations indicated that they could not, or would not, deliver necessary access to consumers and small businesses. There was an erosion of trust, says Ehrbeck, and against a backdrop of stagnating wages and the changing nature of work, low and middle-income consumers and would-be entrepreneurs in...
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