eBay’s founder Pierre Omidyar has joined hands with four governments for the launch of a $200 million venture capital fund to support innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries.
The Global Innovation Fund, backed by the Omidyar Network, the US government agency USAID, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the governments of Sweden and Australia, aims to support the Millennium Development Goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. It has $206m in seed capital from its five partners, and is looking to raise further capital from private investors.
“It’s going to include early stage investing, because that’s where you see the innovation,” said Matt Bannick, managing partner of the Omidyar Network. This stage is seen by many investors as too risky to be attractive, he said: “If we can de-risk that innovation and get it to a point where other investors take an interest, that’s the idea.”
The fund will support piloting, testing and scaling of concepts with the potential for huge social impact. Investments will be from $50,000 to $15m in the form of grants, loans and equity investment.
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