Usually investment firms only fund a startup when they see potential to grow their money. However philanthropic investment firms fund in startups that help achieve their philanthropic endeavors like solving a country’s problems or empowering the civil society.
One such philanthropic investment firm and a non-profit organization is Omidyar Network India, which was established in 2004 by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pamela Kerr. Omidyar Network India is part of the US based Omidyar Group which is a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives that are dedicated in creating opportunity for people to improve their lives.
Omidyar Network India has its headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra with over a 50 employees in the country. Omidyar Network invests in innovative organization and bold entrepreneurs that will eventually catalyze economic, social or political change. As of 2017, the firm had invested in more than 60 companies within a decade, and raised more $350 million by 2020.
So far the organization has committed over $992 million to profit, nonprofit and public companies that aim in fostering economic advancement and that are trying to solve the problems of India’s hardest and most difficult problems and challenges.
Omidyar Network India makes equity investments upcoming companies and provide grants to non-profit organizations in the areas of Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance and Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. The organization invests in 3 levels which are :
- Supporting new and upcoming market innovators,
- Help in building institutional & market infrastructure and
- Working with the Indian Government to promote inclusion, entrepreneurship, competition, and ensure necessary safeguards and protections.
Here are some of the startups funded by Omidyar Network India
Quikr is the India's top online classifies platform that helps people of a particular city meet, trade, buy and sell household goods, cars, bikes, local services and even find jobs, among other services. Quikr was founded in 2008 by Pranay Chulet and has its headquarters based in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
The company is currently has its footprint in 1000 different cities around the world. Quikr aims on empowering people to independently connect with different buyers and sellers. The company has so far raised over $350 million in 7 rounds in order to fulfill its dream of disrupting the ecommerce market in country and empower people.
In 2009, the company raised over Rs 200 million in their second round of funding which was led by Omidyar Network and Matrix Partners India. Quikr has a long list of investors like Tiger global, Kinnevik, Matrix Partners, Omidyar Network, Norwest Venture, Nokia growth Partners, Warburg Pincus and eBay, etc.
HealthKart is known to be India’s largest online nutrition and fitness platform that offers products, services and even expert advice or assistance to fitness enthusiasts. The company also has leading subsidiaries like MuscleBlaze for (sports and fitness) and Healthkart for (health).
HealthKart sells everything from protein supplements to vitamin smoothies at affordable prices. The company has it’s headquarters in Gurgaon and sells more than 200 brand products and authorized vendors that is listed on their website. It is known for nutrition products that are sold especially to elderly people, personal care, chronic care, eye and skin care.
The startup raised over Rs 27 crore in their second round of funding from their existing investor Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network India. With this the company expanded its product portfolio and is also developing an online magazine about health and fitness.
Dailyhunt is one of the top news and local language content app in India. Currently, the company has over 150 plus million app installations with more than 100,000 news articles that are available in 14 different languages.
The company was founded in 2007 by Virendra Gupta and its parent company is Verse Innovation. Dailyhunt claims to have 150 million monthly users and 27 million daily users. It also has 650 publication partners, while their content is created by machine learning algorithm that delivers real time personalized content.
The company raised over Rs 24.61 crore in series E2 funding from Omidyar Network India, Sequoia Capital and the Renu Sehgal Trust. Omidyar also funds other news aggregators like Pratilipi and Helofy. The competitors of Dailyhunt are NewsDog which is backed by Tencent and Helo backed by Toutiao.
1mg is one of the top online pharmacy and integrated health application in India and is known for its wide range of medicines, health products, online consultation, booking lab tests and providing information on doctors, clinics, diagnostic centres, pharmacies, etc.
The company promotes transparency around medicine information and is the one stop shop for medical search and transaction experience. During the pandemic, the platform has become popular as it delivers medicines and health products at the safety of the homes in more than 1000 cities across India from Licensed pharmacies.
In 2016, 1mg raised over $15 million in their series B funding round from Maverick Capital Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network India. The company at that time said that it was going to use the funds to expand their online pharmacy and diagnostics and also launch personalized health feeds for their consumers.
Scripbox is an online mutual funds platform, which was founded by Sanjiv Singhal in 2012. The company has its headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka and uses proprietary algorithms to curate a portfolio out of 8000 other mutual funds in country, they are then divided into equity, debt and tax savings.
The company aims to educate young working professionals to save and grow their wealth and also encouraging people to explore inflation beating instruments rather than the usual inflation par instruments like fixed deposits and gold. As according to E R Ashok Kumar, the CEO of Scripbox, equities will give people over 15% returns than compared to the traditional forms of investing.
The company raised an undisclosed amount in their series B round investment from Omidyar Network India and Accel partners. The company joins Omidyars’s other investment made in the sector of personal savings such as Juntos from US and Tandem from UK. Scripbox was planning to expand to 1000 cities by 2020 with its funds.
Transerve is a platform that offers geospatial tech based SAAS solutions. The platform allows solutions for sustainable growth and urban planning. Transerve is used by both individuals and companies for visualizing and sharing spatial data and map visualization through Map APIs.
The platform is a data collector, has location intelligence and helps in mapping precisely so the companies can geo locate data and then make smart and accurate decisions. The company also built many apps and platforms like CityOS in order to solve problems which are related to urban setup, Watsan for waters supply and sanitation solutions and deploys Lidar for heritage restoration and highway engineering.
The company aims in providing solutions to modernize a city’s municipal information system, which is why it went on to raise $1.6 million in Series A funding from IL and FS Investment Managers and Omidyar Network.
Vedantu is a well-known Ed tech company that allows teachers to provide Live tuitions to students online. The online tutoring platform has more than 500 of India’s best curated teachers and over 1 million hours to over 40,000 students across 1000 plus cities from 30 countries.
Vedantu uses a built in technology known as WAVE to create a marketplace model for teachers, where students can browse, discover and choose to learn from a particular teacher. So far the app offers teaching classes for 6th to 12th grades and also for co-curricular and competitive examinations.
Vedantu raised $11 million in Series B funding round from Omidyar Network in 2018. It also went on to raise $12.5 million in Series C-1 round of funding from Legend Capital and Omidyar’s Ohana Holding in 2020.
ZestMoney is India’s fastest growing Fintech startup that was founded in 2015 by Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman. ZestMoney uses mobile technology, AI and digital banking facilities to make life more affordable to millions of Indians by managing their credit for them and helping them pay in affordable EMIs.
The platform was made with the aim of improving lives of the people who don’t have an access to credit card or other financial option due to insufficient credit history.
The Bengaluru based digital lending startup raised over $20 million funding in Series B round from Quona Capital, Reinventure, Omidyar Network, Ribbit Capital and PayU. The company is said to use these funds for expanding their platform with EMI-based financing for e-commerce and for other online purchases.
Credflow is a New Delhi based Fintech startup, that offers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) solutions for cash flow management. With the help of the platform SMEs can manage their finances better with timely insights of pending amounts by customers, sending regular payment reminders, validating invoices and negotiating discounts for early payment, among others.
So far over 5000 SMEs are said to have used Credflow to process invoices that are worth over Rs 70,000 crore. The main aim of Credflow is to help small businesses grow exponentially by managing their banking, payments, and treasury.
Credflow raised $2.1 million in their seed round of funding from Stellaris Venture, Omidyar Network and Flourish Ventures. The company said that they would use the funds to develop its platform, strengthen its technology and come up with new products in order to expand their customer base.
WhiteHat Jr is a Mumbai based Edtech startup that offers live online 1:1 classes on coding and math. The platform is also built on the foundational skills like literacy and numeracy from an early stage.
WhiteHat Jr helps in connecting top certified teachers that can teach children topics such as e-learning, coding, early childhood education, computational thinking, logic, algorithmic thinking, etc. After learning the kids are encouraged to come up with creative outcome like animations and apps.
The startup raised over $1.3 million in a seed funding round from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar’s Network India in 2018. It also raised $10 million in their Series A funding round by their existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar’s Network India in 2019. The company said that they would use the funds to strengthen their platform and expand their curriculum and marketing to increase consumer awareness.
Newlaundry is a well-known independent news media company that provides its readers with media critique, reportage, satirical commentary, podcasts, documentaries, comics and animation content. The media company was founded by former journalists Abhinandan Sekhri, Madhu Trehan and Prashant Sareen in 2012.
Newslaundry was also the first subscription based website in India, as unlike other news websites like The Wire, The Quint, Scroll, etc the company relies on public subscriptions for revenue instead of advertisements. In 2016, the media company raised Rs 3.1 crore from Omidyar Network, Omidyar now owns 18.4% stake in the company.
Over the years Omidyar Network Indian helped in driving empowerment and social impact at a big scale, by investing in startups and entrepreneurs who aim in providing solutions to solve Indian chronic problems. Even during the Covid 19 pandemic, Omidyar Network funded over Rs. 10.75 crores to 67 projects out of 2000 under the Rapid response funding initiative in 2020. The investment firm will continue to help many upcoming startup grow and bolster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Omidyar Network India?
Omidyar Network India is part of the US based Omidyar Group which is a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives that are dedicated creating opportunity for people to improve their lives.
Who is the founder of Omidyar Network India?
The philanthropic investment firm and a non-profit organization was founded by Pierre Omidyar (also the founder of eBay) and his wife Pamela Kerr.
What are the areas that Omidyar Network India funds?
The areas in which Omidyar Network India funds are Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance and Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.
What are some of the Top startups funded by Omidyar Network India?
The startups funded by Omidyar Network India are Newslaundry, WhiteHat Jr, Credflow, ZestMoney, Vedantu, Transerve, Scripbox, Dailyhunt, 1mg, HealthKart and Quikr.