Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives, announced earlier this month that it has provided a grant of up to $750K to Jumo, a company that is building a web-based platform for connecting individuals with cause-based organizations. Jumo's founder is Chris Hughes, who is a co-founder of Facebook. In conjunction with this grant, Chris Bishko, Omidyar Network director of investments, will join Jumo’s board of directors.
“Omidyar Network has extensive experience with both for-profit and philanthropic online marketplaces," Bishko said. "We believe Jumo is pursing a powerful opportunity to leverage networking technologies to facilitate deeper engagement between individuals and cause-based organizations."
Jumo is scheduled for launch later this year. Some additional background is available in the following video.
IGNIA states that its goal is to raise $50 - $75 million in equity through future closings into early 2009. Combined with $25 million in debt financing IGNIA closed on with the IDB, IGNIA will invest a total of $75 – $100 million in innovative businesses that meet the needs of the low income population in Mexico and other areas of Latin America. IGNIA announced its initial two investments in September – a $3 million commitment to Primedic, which delivers health care services to urban low-income individuals and families, and a $2 million investment in Jardines de Grijalva, an affordable housing development in Chiapas, Mexico (made through its real estate subsidiary).
"This US$13.6 million capital closing and the recently announced US$25 million debt financing have both been closed after the start of the financial crisis," said Alvaro Rodriguez Arregui, IGNIA co-founder and Managing Partner. "We deeply appreciate the trust of our investors at this sensitive time, and it is a clear indication of how strong they deem the IGNIA business model, the team we have assembled and our theory of change."
"Partnering with the MIF will bring tremendous value to IGNIA," said Michael Chu, co-founder and Managing Director of IGNIA. "We will benefit from the substantial experience the MIF has built in pioneering equity investing in the region."
"By supporting IGNIA, MIF is not only supporting the creation of a new venture fund dedicated to the base of the pyramid segment, but is also helping create a new segment within the venture capital industry that will focus on fighting poverty, combining the lessons learned from microfinance with the financial tools of venture capital," said MIF team leader Susana Garcia-Robles. "The demonstration effect of this fund could lead the way for many more similar initiatives in the region."