Education Funding

Imaginable Futures Looks to Make Impact in Learning Worldwide

A new philanthropic investment firm has launched that focuses on the future of learning. Imaginable Futures was founded and funded by Pam Omidyar and Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay. It's a spin-off from Omidyar Network, which has a broader investment mandate. The venture capital fund at Imaginable has already invested $200 million with an additional $150 million for operations and investment committed over the next four years.

The company is following a hybrid funding structure, part philanthropy and part "impact investor." Its current portfolio includes for-profits and non-profits in the United States, Africa and Latin America, focusing on learning innovation in early childhood education; elementary, secondary and post-secondary education; and adult education.

Among Imaginable's "investees" are LearnZillion, DonorsChoose, Code.org, Khan Academy Kids, EdSurge, Wonderschool and dozens of other organizations. A frequently-asked question page on its website explained that it's looking for "innovative" learning approaches that can "dramatically improve learner outcomes and well-being." When choosing where to invest, the company said it follows four criteria:

  • There's the potential for impact at scale;

  • The investee can reach lower socio-economic children and families;

  • The premise is "anchored in the science of learning"; and

  • It has "exceptional mission-driven leadership."

"In today's complex world, skill-sets, relationships and opportunities are evolving far faster than ever before. This results in a need to massively rethink not only what people learn but also how and when they learn," said Amy Klement, managing partner of Imaginable, in a statement. "Imaginable Futures exists to support bold changemakers who are doing exactly that--so that every learner has the opportunity, tools and support that they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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