Pierre Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar's picture


As an entrepreneur and innovator, Pierre guides Omidyar Network with his strategic vision, values, and fresh approach to the field of philanthropy.

Pierre's work at Omidyar Network is greatly influenced by his beliefs in the inherent potential of all people and the transformative power of markets. These beliefs inspired him to found eBay in 1995. Starting from the premise that people are basically good, Pierre created a platform that enabled people to connect over shared interests and build individual businesses. The keys to eBay’s marketplace were transparency and accessibility -- everyone had equal access to information, opportunity, and tools to pursue their goals. Today, eBay enables more than 80 million buyers and sellers worldwide to connect and prosper. Each individual has built a reputation through past transactions that eases concerns about doing business sight unseen and often turns strangers into friends.

After eBay became a public company in 1998, Pierre and his wife, Pam, co-founded the Omidyar Foundation to support nonprofits. Simultaneously, eBay's vast scale and accelerating social impact were demonstrating that business could also be an effective tool for making the world a better place. In response, they broadened their scope in 2004 to form a new entity, Omidyar Network, to make for-profit company investments as well as nonprofit organization grants. Like eBay, Omidyar Network harnesses the power of markets to enable people to tap their true potential. By supporting innovative, market-based approaches, Omidyar Network creates opportunity for individuals to connect with others, discover their power to make a difference in the world and truly improve their lives.

As an extension of Omidyar Network's activities in microfinance, Pierre and Pam gave $100 million to Tufts University to create the Omidyar-Tufts Microfinance Fund. Their endowment, the single largest in the history of Tufts, aims to accelerate the growth of the microfinance industry, while generating income to support university programs. Pierre and Pam also co-founded the Ulupono Initiative, a Hawaii-focused social investment organization that makes grants and investments to improve the quality of life for island residents through more renewable energy, more locally produced food, and reduced waste.

Before starting eBay, Pierre co-founded Ink Development Corp., later renamed eShop and acquired by Microsoft. Upon receiving his BS in computer science from Tufts, Pierre worked as a consumer software engineer at Claris, a subsidiary of Apple Computer.  Today, Pierre serves as a trustee of Tufts University, Punahou School, and Santa Fe Institute, a commissioner of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, and as chairman of eBay.

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