Change.org is a petition website that has over 25 million users that has raised their first large round of outside funding after starting six years ago. The company raised $15 million in a round of funding led by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Pierre Omidyar is known for being the founder of eBay. Pierre and Pam used the wealth that they attained from eBay to launch the philanthropic initiative company Omidyar Network. Another investor in this round of funding was from Uprising.
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Dan Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, and Manoj Bhargava, the founder of 5-Hour Energy, are among two billionaires from Michigan that have joined Giving Pledge. Giving Pledge is an organization created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to redistribute their wealth to charity.
Stop Online Piracy Act is a bill that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in October 2011 by Lamar Smith (R-TX). This Act would allow the Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of copyright infringement that would prevent online ad networks and payment facilitators from doing business with those websites. Opponents in this bill believe that this is Internet censorship. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang oppose the bill. Their letter will appear as a paid ad in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers.
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eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar is starting up a new venture in Honolulu, Hawaii. The venture will focus on issues taking place in Hawaii. Omidyar is partnering with eBay VP Randy Ching on the new project.
“We’re starting something up in our own backyard,” stated Omidyar on his blog. “We are creating a Honolulu-based local news service that will produce original, in-depth reporting and analysis of local issues in Hawaii… We have a lot of work to do before our public launch in early 2010.”
Omidyar is also close to finishing up his Ginx project with Ching. Ginx is expected to be a recommendation website that utilizes Twitter.
Through eBay and other ventures, Omidyar’s net worth is at $5.5 billion.
Omidyar Network, the investment arm of Pierre Omidyar’s wealth has made a $2 million grant. Pierre is the founder of eBay and his personal wealth is roughly $3.6 billion. The Omidyar Network was started in 2004 and there was about $270 million in assets given to the investment firm.
Some of the Internet companies that the Omidyar Network invested in include Digg, Federated Media Publishing, KaBOOM, Seesmic, Linden Lab, and Wikia. Wikia is another company that was founded by the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Wikipedia receives about 300 million monthly unique visitors and is the 5th most visited website in the world. However Wikipedia runs on donations and does not have any advertising. At the end of last year, about 125,000 donors invested $6.2 million in helping keep Wikipedia alive.
Of that $6.2 million, $3 million was given by the Sloan Foundation and an anonymous friend gave $286,800. As part of the investment, Matt Halprin of Omidyar will be joining the Wikimedia Foundation board of directors. Before working at Omidyar, Halprin was the VP of global trust and safety at eBay.
eBay founder Pierre Omidyar reported on Twitter about a ridiculous lawsuit that is being thrown at him. Omidyar, a billionaire, a start-up investor, and a philanthropist is the least likely person in the world to have anything to do with terrorists.
The lawyer suing Omidyar even own a website called Sueaerosmith.com. Omidyar tweeted that he plans to claim sueomidyar.com before that lawyer tries to get it.
John Picardy, a former special agent with the State Department recently filed a lawsuit against Omidyar for a wrongful termination. Picardy is also suing Omidyar’s wife, mother, and Sky River Management. Sky River Management, a firm in Honolulu handles the security for the Omidyar family. Picardy left his job at the State Department in Australia and joined Sky River at the beginning of 2008.
Picardy’s job only last four days. Sky River fired Picardy because he made a comment that was offensive to two fellow roommates. The comment was “What do you do when Jayson wants to get some face?” Picardy meant “going on a date” and “not having sex”.
Picardy believes that he was fired because Omidyar’s mother questioned his views on the Middle East. Picardy claims he was fired because he found out about the family airplane flying to Syria for meetings with Hamas. Picardy believes the Omidyars fired him “because they feared the reporting to the U.S. government of their activities.” Picardy wants a jury trial and punitive damages.
Omidyar is taking the situation quite lightly as indicated by his tweets. “I guess my chances of becoming President have gone up. Thank you, Sarah Palin!” tweeted Omidyar after writing about being sued for “palling around with terrorists.”
Pierre M. Omidyar, the Iranian-American philanthropist and founder/chairman of eBay that is worth about $7.7 billion is now working on a new business. Dan Primack of PEHub found a regulatory filing that lists Pierre as an executive of a company called Ginx. Although the company is still in stealth mode and requests users to provide their Twitter username/password and secret code, the company has raised $2 million according to the filing.
Ginx is believed to be a recommendation website based on Twitter. So if I do an action on the Internet and want to share it within the Ginx community, it will show that pulled website to other Twitter users through Ginx. It is able to show this action through a URL shortening service through Ginx. For an example, go to this website: http://ginx.com/-Bl6.
Omidyar seems to have a keen interest in social media so this type of service is right up his alley. One of the most interesting tweets I’ve read by Omidyar was during the Presidential Debates between Obama and McCain.