This article originally appeared in The Times of India on March 19, 2013.
BANGALORE: US-based philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network is looking to invest $100-$200 million in for-profit and non-profit ventures in the country over the next 3-5 years.
Founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the firm has invested $113 mn across 35 companies in India since 2010. Omidyar investments are focused around consumer internet and mobile, entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, government transparency and property rights. The firm invests in firms where social impact is the unifying criterion for investments.
A few months back, the company invested in Kolkata-based IT-enabled services firm iMerit Technology Services. The investment will help iMerit scale its operations, open additional project centres and expand its senior management team. Omidyar’s portfolio of companies includes online classifieds Quickr, online pharmacy and medical store HealthKart and civic affair NGO Janaagraha.
Omidyar invests $1mn to$10 mn in for-profit companies and $500,000 to $5mn in non-profit companies. “Like a series A investor or an early-stage VC firm, our stake in for-profit companies varies between 10-15% and 25-40%. For non-profit,we will not support any organisation for more than 25%-33% of its funding. We want to make sure that there is a robust donor base supporting them,” said Jayant Sinha, partner and managing director, Omidyar Network India Advisors.
Sinha said his portfolio companies are technology-oriented. “It’s is a great way to scale and be non-linear. We look for companies that use technology innovatively,” he said.
Last year, Omidyar has invested in companies like Bangalore-based enterprise financing firm Vistaar and Mumbai-based strategic philanthropy foundation Dasra. It has also granted $950,000 to Akshara Foundation and $1.5 million to Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CamTech). Globally, the firm has committed about $608 mn since its inception with $277 mn as for-profit investments and $331 mn as non-profit grants.