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Overnight Billionaire, eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar is Giving His Fortune Away, But Why?

In the computer and tech revolution of the late 1900s, companies were racing to build platforms that would be an integral part of the IT infrastructure of the future.

One such company was eBay, founded by Pierre Omidyar who overcame numerous obstacles and challenges to build an e-commerce company that made him an overnight billionaire when it went public in September 1998.

Pierre Omidyar comes from humble beginnings

$9 Billion Dollars Overnight

Pierre’s net worth skyrocketed from almost nothing to roughly $9 billion practically overnight. So what do you think the tech mogul decided to do with his newfound billions? Buy an island in the Bahamas? Treat himself to a super expensive yacht? On the contrary, Pierre decided to give it all away.

Born in Paris, France in 1967 to Iranian immigrant parents, Pierre and his family migrated to the U.S at an early age where he showed an immediate interest in computers, going on to graduate with a  degree in Computer Sciences before starting a small computer company.

After selling his company, Pierre was looking for inspiration to start the next chapter of his life, and it was at a time when his wife was looking to sell her collection of Pez candy dispensers.

The Birth of E-Commerce

Pam would frequently complain about the difficulty of find buyers through conventional commerce methods and this was Pierre’s “a-ha” moment- if only there was an electronic source on the internet for buying and selling collectible items; a virtual space where buyers and sellers could congregate.

 

Pam is the founder of eBay

The first iteration of eBay was born in 1995 and was called “Auction Web” which was subsequently changed to eBay in 1997, with the name being adopted from Pierre’s consultation firm Echo Bay.

Pledging 99% of His Fortune By 2020

After making his billions, Pierre immediately got to work to use his newfound wealth for social causes. He worked with Kiva group to facilitate micro-financing to support impoverished regions like India, Africa, etc.

Pierre and his wife Pam have a long term philosophy when it comes to social welfare and are committed to empowering the masses through education and financial assistance rather than short term goals like feeding the hungry or providing shelter for the homeless.

 

Pierre and his wife Pam have a long term philosophy when it comes to social welfare

The Omidyar family has pledged to donate 99% of their family fortune to charity by the year 2020- in 2018 alone the family donated $470 million to causes that they believed in.

That’s a staggering half a billion dollars in charity in a single year! In light of his philanthropic activities and donations, Pierre still maintains a net worth of $7.8 billion as of 2019, which means he has a lot of work to do if he intends to give 99% of it by the end of this year!

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