by Arjuna Costa, Emmalyn Shaw, and Tilman Ehrbeck
We live in an era of unprecedented wealth, but unequal opportunities. The majority of U.S. households are not financially healthy, often living from paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. Forty percent could not come up with $400 to pay for an emergency expense. In emerging markets, half of working-age adults typically live and work in the informal economy, often reluctantly self-employed without adequate resources.
Against this backdrop, the digital age has created new paradoxes. More and more people carry “super computers” in their pockets with the potential to connect everyone on Earth to the 21st-century economy and its new possibilities. At the same time, technology is changing the nature of work and propelling “winner-takes-all” models, which in turn strain social safety-nets in advanced economies and hit emerging markets before they have a chance to fully develop such safeguards.
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. 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.
That’s why we are launching our new venture. We seek out entrepreneurs who understand both the powerful potential of technology and its risks. We partner with innovators around the world who leverage that power to improve people’s lives. As we grow our portfolio, the entrepreneurs we support help shape our vision of the future. They have disruptive ideas to strengthen customers’ agency and protect their privacy. They understand the broader system, and they want to change it for the better.
Flourish is an evergreen venture fund investing patient capital to scale new ideas, prove new business models, and build new categories. We also partner with policymakers, thought leaders, and innovative regulators to help shape a fair and customer-centric financial sector. We are funded by Pam and Pierre Omidyar. A tech entrepreneur himself and founder of eBay, Pierre has always believed in individual empowerment, connecting people, and trust as a basis of shared success.
As we embark on this new journey, we are excited to bring over our global team and portfolio of more than 40 fintech companies and nearly 10 ecosystem investments that we built during the past decade at Omidyar Network. We aspire to push the frontiers, evolving our current investment themes—which include challenger banks, personal finance, insurtech, and regtech, among others. Through our evergreen structure, we have $300 million at our disposal for the next five years to deliver on this mission.
We are Flourish. We are excited to back entrepreneurs whose innovations are helping people around the world achieve financial health and prosperity.