Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm that consists of a foundation and an impact investment firm. As such, the firm can provide whatever type of capital is necessary to support social innovation, whether grants or for-profit investments. Omidyar Network has a distinct approach focusing on scaling entire sectors. To date, it has invested over $1 billion, almost equally divided between its nonprofit and for-profit portfolios.
Scott Wu is a partner at Omidyar Network and leads the firm’s investment, finance, and legal operations. In this role, he drives the evaluation, selection, and closing of all investments and management of the firm’s overall investment portfolio. In this interview, Scott talks about Omidyar Network’s distinct approach to investment, the kind of organisations they seek to support, and how they balance considerations of return and impact.
Scott observes the changing nature of the social investment field and looks at some of the exciting new approaches to finance that are emerging, including repayable debt instruments and social impact bonds. Scott also discusses the three key questions that social entrepreneurs need to answer when looking for funding, and identifies some of the common challenges social entrepreneurs face when seeking to fund their organisations.