Interview: Matt Bannick, Managing Partner, Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm started in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Since 2004, the firm has invested close to $500 million in both non-profit and for profit ventures, all of which have a stated mission to catalyze social, economic, and political change. We’ve written about many of the companies that Omidyar has helped start over the years – Ashoka, Mango,, CouchSurfing, and D.light just to name a few.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Omidyar Network’s annual executive forum in Redwood City, CA.  It’s an event designed to bring all of the Omidyar Network’s grantees and investments together under one roof for 3 days of brainstorming, inspiration, and learning.  This year the vast majority of Omidyar’s 100+ companies had at least one representative present, some having traveled from as far as Zambia.

The network’s areas of investment are concentrated in two main areas:  Access to Capital (focusing on microfinance, property rights & entrepreneurship) and Media, Markets & Transparency (focusing on technology and government/corruption).

Determining which of the world’s problems can be solved with profit generating entrepreneurial ideas and which are more suited for traditional non-profits is a difficult decision.  It’s one that Omidyar grapples with every day.   I sat down with Matt Bannick, Managing Partner for Omidyar Network to look for some perspective:

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.