Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay, invested money in several privacy security startups like Uber for Bodyguards. He did that while donating nearly $2 million to organizations that advocate defunding and abolishing the police.
Omidyar has an estimated fortune of $8.91 billion. As per Forbes magazine's latest rankings in 2023, he is currently ranked as the 220th wealthiest person in the world. He is recognized as the founder of First Look Media, the parent company overseeing both The Intercept, an online news site, and Topic Studios, an entertainment company.
Forbes has named Omidyar as one of the 25 most generous individuals in the U.S. this year. He has extended free income to thousands of Kenyans for 12 years and generously donated $50 million to the Hawaii Community Foundation, headquartered in Honolulu.
According to independent journalist and former The Intercept reporter Lee Fang, the Omidyar Network charitable group contributed $500,000 to organizations that protested against the death of George Floyd in 2020. The charity also allocated $1.3 million to PolicyLink and Democracy Fund, which supported the creation of DefundPolice.org, a website that aims to defund the police.
Additionally, Fang mentioned that The Movement for Black Lives, an abolitionist coalition, also received a $300,000 donation from the Omidyar Network. Fang also revealed that the tax records of this charity showed a $100,000 grant to Equity and Transformation, a Chicago-based organization that strongly advocates for the defunding of the police. (Related: Nolte: Democrats want to abolish the police AND confiscate our guns.)
Omidyar's investments line him up to gain financially from the rapid growth of private security startups.
One of these startups is Bond, a company based in New York and established in 2017 with $72 million in funding, including the investments from Omidyar. Bond offers location tracking, video monitoring and agents who will notify the authorities and emergency contacts if needed.
According to the company's website, the Bond platform aims to make bodyguards accessible not only to celebrities and executives but also to the general public. They offer affordable, highly-trained, professional bodyguards on-demand through their platform and app.
Omidyar's investment portfolio also includes a stake in Deep Sentinel, a security camera system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that helps identify intruders. Both the Bond app and Deep Sentinel have capitalized on the nationwide increase in crime – which is often associated with the defund the police movement – by positioning their products as alternatives.
Meanwhile, the Uber for bodyguards openly positions itself as a service that can benefit from growing concerns regarding declining public safety. "In most situations where you, loved ones, or employees feel uncomfortable or unsafe – it is too early to dial 911 since it is not yet an emergency, but you still want a professional by your side. Then, it could be too late to complete a 911 call because you are unable. Bond Security Agents are by your side 24/7 to proactively monitor and intervene before it is an emergency."
As these startups gained traction and captured a share of the expanding market, Omidyar's investments would have the potential to yield significant financial returns, furthering his overall investment strategy and portfolio growth.
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