Pierre Morad Omidyar
Pierre Omidyar at his Las Vegas home in 2007
June 21, 1967 |
|Residence||Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|Occupation||Founder and Chairman, eBay Inc.|
|Net worth||$8.7 billion (March 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Pamela Kerr Omidyar|
Pierre Morad Omidyar (Persian:Piyer Morād Omidyār,born June 21, 1967) is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site. He became a billionaire at the age of 31 with eBay's 1998 IPO. Omidyar and his wife Pam are well-known philanthropists who founded Omidyar Network in 2004 in order to expand their efforts beyond non-profits to include for-profits and public policy.
Personal life 
Omidyar was born in Paris, France to Iranian immigrant parents who had been sent by his grandparents to attend university there. His mother Elahé Mir-Djalali Omidyar (Persian:Elāhe Mirjalāli Omidyār), who did her doctorate in linguistics at the Sorbonne, is a well-known academic. His father was an Iranian surgeon. The family moved to the US when Omidyar was six.
Growing up in Washington, D.C., Pierre's interest in computers began at the Potomac School, which started to increase when he was in the 9th grade. He attended St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. He graduated from St. Andrew's in 1984, and in 1988, he graduated with a degree in computer science from Tufts University. Shortly after, Omidyar went to work for Claris, an Apple Computer subsidiary, where he helped write MacDraw. In 1991 he co-founded Ink Development, a pen-based computing startup that was later rebranded as an e-commerce company and renamed eShop.
eBay and later career 
In 1995, at the age of 28, Omidyar began to write the original computer code for an online venue to enable the listing of a direct person-to-person auction for collectible items. He created a simple prototype on his personal web page, and on Labor Day, Monday, September 4 1995 he launched an online service called Auction Web which would eventually become the auction site eBay.
It was hosted on a site Omidyar had created for information on the ebola virus. The first item sold on the site was not a Pez dispenser, but a broken laser pointer. Omidyar was astonished that anyone would pay for the device in its broken state, but the buyer assured him he was deliberately collecting broken laser pointers. Similar surprises followed. The business exploded as correspondents began to register trade goods of an unimaginable variety. Omidyar incorporated the enterprise; the small fee he collected on each sale financed the expansion of the site. The revenue soon outstripped his salary at General Magic, and nine months later Omidyar decided to dedicate his full attention to his new enterprise.
In 1996, Omidyar signed a licensing deal to offer airline tickets online, by which time the site had hosted 250,000 auctions. In the first month of 1997, it hosted 2 million. By the middle of that year, eBay was hosting nearly 800,000 auctions a day.
In 1997 Pierre Omidyar changed the company's name to eBay in 1997 and began to advertise the service aggressively. The word 'eBay' was made up on the fly by Omidyar when he was told that his first choice for his web site, 'echobay,' had already been registered. Not wanting to make a second trip to Sacramento, he came up with 'eBay.' The frequently repeated story that eBay was founded to help Omidyar's fiancée trade Pez candy dispensers was fabricated by a public relations manager in 1997 to interest the media. This was revealed in Adam Cohen's 2002 book and confirmed by eBay. The service was free at first, but started charging in order to cover internet service provider costs.
Jeffrey Skoll joined the company in 1996. In March 1998, Meg Whitman was brought in as President and CEO and continued to run the company until January 2008 when she announced her retirement. In September 1998, eBay launched a successful public offering, making both Omidyar and Skoll billionaires. As of July 2008[update], Omidyar's 178 million eBay shares were worth around $4.45 billion. Omidyar is also an investor of Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California.
In 2010, Omidyar launched an online news service in Honolulu called Civil Beat that covers civic affairs in Hawaii.
Omidyar Network 
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and political change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $270 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including property rights, government transparency, and social media.
According to Forbes, Pierre Omidyar is worth $8.7 billion (US) as of March 2013, making him the 123rd richest person in the world and 42nd richest U.S. resident. He is the richest Iranian and the fifth richest French person.
Awards and honors 
- Honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service, Tufts University (2011)
See also 
- Pierre Omidyar - Forbes, Forbes.com. Accessed May 10, 2013.
- Viegas 2006, p. 13
- Viegas 2006, p. 14
- Viegas 2006, p. 16
- Viegas 2006, p. 18
- Academy of Achievement : Pierre Omidyar
- Cohen 2002
- "EBAY: Major Holders for eBay Inc. - Yahoo! Finance". Finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
|Chairman of eBay
1995 – present