Omidyar Network has announced that after twelve years of investing in global fintech startups focused on financial inclusion, it has spun off its Financial Inclusion initiative as an independent entity called Flourish.
According to a blog post, Flourish was launched this week with $300 million in funding over five years and will work to support entrepreneurs whose innovations are helping people achieve financial health and prosperity. Funded by eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, the new venture will retain its existing $200 million portfolio and investments in more than forty fintech companies and will look for additional opportunities to invest "patient" capital in new ideas, new business models, and new categories, including so-called challenger banks, personal finance, "insurtech," and "regtech." The new organization also will partner with policy makers, thought leaders, and innovative regulators to help shape "a fair and customer-centric financial sector."
Given the explosion of interest in new, digitally-powered financial services offerings, it was a no-brainer for ON to spin-out the portfolio and look for new opportunities to expand, Tilman Ehrback, a managing partner at Flourish, told TechCrunch. Flourish is the third Omidyar Network initiative to be spun off as an independent organization: last year, the U.S. Emerging Tech initiative became Spero, while the Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative was spun off as Luminate.
"As societies, if we aspire for everyone to do better in this new age, we cannot assume that technology or economic growth will take care of these issues," the fund argues in the blog post. "We have to design solutions that meet the real needs of households and small enterprises. We have to build businesses that include everyone. We have to aim for greater opportunities for all."