Maximizing Impact: Twilio.org Launches New Fund

By Robynn Steffen, Impact Investing, Omidyar Network

Image Credit: Twilio.com

In 2016, Twilio touched one in five humans on the planet. At today’s Signal Conference, they broadened their impact even further with the launch of the Twilio.org Impact Fund to support nonprofits and social enterprises that are accelerating impact through communications technologies. The launch of this fund is the latest evidence of a growing impact investing market, now estimated to include nearly $114 billion in assets under management. As a partner to the newly launched fund and a field builder in our own right, we are heartened by yet another significant commitment to the industry.

When Twilio.org first asked us to partner, we immediately saw shared strengths between their approach and ours. Like us, Twilio.org will deploy flexible capital — both nonprofit grants and for-profit investments. We both support early-stage entrepreneurs with potential for massive scale. And we both share a commitment to provide our portfolio far more than just financial capital. For Omidyar Network, this takes the form of human capital support such as recruiting and executive coaching; for the Impact Fund, it will mean tapping Twilio products at a discount and leveraging its 1M+ network of developers, many of whom are eager to put their technical skills to work for good.

Today’s announcement highlights the Impact Fund’s initial $1M in grants to eight worthy nonprofits. As partners, we look forward to working with Twilio.org to continue to build a pipeline of both additional nonprofits as well as for-profit social enterprises. By leveraging both grants and investments, Twilio.org can fully maximize on its pledge to commit 1% of its equity to impact — a pledge that followed in the footsteps of Salesforce. We hope to see more companies in Silicon Valley — and beyond — take inspiration and invest in ventures that can leverage the power of markets to achieve social change.