We Are Unabashedly Impact-First

At Imaginable Futures, nothing comes before learners.

As a philanthropic investment firm, we are part impact investor and part foundation grantmaker. Our hybrid structure allows us to deploy flexible capital, enabling us to support for-profit entrepreneurs harnessing the power of markets as well as nonprofit and public and social sector changemakers innovating to produce scalable change. Together, we work together to build a brighter future.

We recognize that there is no silver bullet in education and we therefore make different types and sizes of investments depending on the context. We are actively looking for opportunities that align with our focus areas, values, and the countries in which we work.

We approach our work with a sense of urgency and action, in service to the millions of learners lacking the opportunity to thrive.

The issues that we’re facing in education require a 360 degree approach that includes nonprofit and for-profit portfolio companies as well as partners that positively contribute to all parts of the education ecosystem that impact learners. We work to continually collaborate and bring together those who are the experts in their field and share our collective knowledge. And we work to raise awareness around our focus areas including raising our voices on issues impacting learners, commissioning research, motivating action on policy or developing and enacting new standards.

The Steps We Take to Invest

Our investment process is both agile, in line with the needs of the changemakers we support, and right-sized to the size of the investment or grant.

  1. 1
    Nice to Meet You

    Through our research and global networks, we are always scouting opportunities to identify potential investees. When evaluating an opportunity, our first step is to determine if there is both strategic and geographic alignment. We do not, currently, accept unsolicited applications.

  2. 2
    Meet Our Global Team

    Once we determine there is alignment with our strategy and that we wish to take an opportunity forward, we may introduce you to our larger global team, including our Investment Committee. From here, we will conduct impact and business due diligence and, if successful, ultimately take to our Investment Committee for decision.

  3. 3
    Welcome to the Family

    After we make an investment, we support our organizations both strategically and operationally, with a differentiated lens on scaling impact. We also aim to support “the whole entrepreneur,” becoming partners in their journeys and supporting them holistically as leaders. Finally, we support our portfolio collectively – bringing our global and diverse network of private, social and public sector partners together to collaborate for greater impact.

FAQs

What is Imaginable Futures?

Imaginable Futures is a global philanthropic investment firm that believes learning has the power to unlock human potential and aspires to provide every learner with the opportunity and the tools they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future. By taking a systems approach to solving complex education challenges, Imaginable Futures works across public, private and social sectors to bring to life transformational ideas for learners of all ages.

With a deep commitment to on-the-ground partnership and co-creation with those we serve, Imaginable Futures is empowering learners, families and communities around the world to be the changemakers of the future.   Established in 2020 and managed by a global team, Imaginable Futures has invested $200 million in more than 100 partners across Africa, Latin America and the United States, as well as in India with our sister organization, Omidyar Network India. Imaginable Futures is a venture of The Omidyar Group and is founded and funded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar.

Is the strategy at Imaginable Futures different than it was at Omidyar Network?

Our mission remains the same—to unlock human potential through learning—as does our strategy, our approach, our team and our portfolio.

How is Imaginable Futures funded?

Imaginable Futures is an independent organization, funded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar, under The Omidyar Group. The Omidyar Group creates, funds and fosters a diverse collection of organizations and initiatives. These entities are made up of independent teams who have the freedom to pursue ideas they believe have the potential to improve the lives of people and societies.

What is philanthropic investing?

Like Omidyar Network, Imaginable Futures has a hybrid structure that is part philanthropic foundation and part impact investor. This structure allows us flexible capital, enabling us to support both for-profit entrepreneurs harnessing the power of markets, as well as social- and public-sector changemakers innovating to produce scalable change. We all work together for better learner outcomes.

How does Imaginable Futures make investments to both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies?

Our flexible capital structure allows us to make both grants and investments and to leverage a variety of other tools in service to our mission. Our structure also enables us to make a wide variety of investments from smaller research projects or convenings to larger equity investments and grants.

What is Imaginable Futures looking for when researching investment opportunities?

We are always scouting opportunities to identify innovative approaches in learning that dramatically improve learner outcomes and well-being. We look for potential investees with the four following criteria:

(1) Potential for transformational impact at scale
(2) Ability to reach lower socio-economic children and families
(3) Anchored in the science of learning
(4) Exceptional mission-driven leadership.

We support our portfolio organizations on both scaling their impact, and on deepening their evidence base over time.

Once Imaginable Futures becomes interested in an investment, what more is the organization looking for?

We look first and foremost at the potential impact of the organization. We look at the impact they can have on learners and the broader system—looking at breadth (potential lives touched), depth (to which those lives are touched) and influence (potential for replication, policy change or other). Second, we ensure the investment aligns with our strategy and with our geographic regions of focus. Our impact is greatest when we focus on innovations in learning that can create exponential impact on learning outcomes at scale.

When needed, we are comfortable making bold bets to deploy early risk capital—typically investing early, at the edge of innovation, to bring more solutions to life for learners who need it most. Our investments are positioned as demonstration portfolios to influence funders, encourage new capital, inform policy, inspire entrepreneurs, leaders and new talent, shape behaviors of existing actors and amplify sector learnings.

How does Imaginable Futures make investment decisions?

Our investment process is agile and aligned with the needs of the entrepreneurs and changemakers we support. Our investment committee makes investment decisions following impact and business due diligence.

How does Imaginable Futures support its portfolio?

We consider our portfolio our family and provide the support needed to ensure they are as impactful as possible. This means deploying capital to support our organizations strategically and operationally, as well as supporting “the whole entrepreneur” by becoming crucial partners in each of their journeys and supporting their leadership development.

We also support our portfolio collectively—bringing our global and diverse network of private, social and public sector partners together for learning, collaboration and growth. Like most early stage investors, we provide various support services. Our differentiated support comes from our commitment to impact at scale: we support impact evaluation, impact scaling globally when appropriate, and leadership development in service of impact.

How does Imaginable Futures measure impact?

Given our system change objectives, we measure our impact at both the sector and portfolio level. With our portfolio organizations, we measure three things: breadth (potential lives touched), depth (to which those lives are touched) and influence (potential for replication, policy change or other). We focus on user insights and support our portfolio in utilizing impact measurement providers. We track the efficacy of our portfolio along an evidence of rigor framework, seeking to advance our organizations toward more rigorous evaluation overtime.

How do you decide which countries to invest in?

We value and leverage our global portfolio, but recognize that education systems are contextual. Therefore, we primarily focus investing to benefit learners in Africa, Latin America and North America with a primary concentration of partners in Brazil, Kenya, South Africa and the United States. We also work very closely with our sister organization in India, Omidyar Network India.

How many investments has Imaginable Futures made so far?

We have invested in more than 100 nonprofit and for-profit education partners since 2009. This includes a wide variety of investments from smaller research grants to larger equity investments and grants. Our partners work reaches over 50 countries across Africa, Latin America and the United States with those who are part of our Imaginable Futures portfolio, as well as investments in India which are now held by our sister organization, Omidyar Network India.

Will you grow your team?

While our focus is impact over growth, we are hiring new members to our team. See our latest open positions at https://jobs.imaginablefutures.com/