The Governance and Citizen Engagement Initiative (GCE) is a newly autonomous initiative of Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm set up by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay.
The GCE Initiative has made more than $250M of investments and grants over the past ten years to achieve its mission of improving the relationship between citizens and government and holding government accountable for its actions. The Initiative works globally with c.30 staff based in nine locations. It deploys c.$60M per annum of investment capital. This initiative delivers through four broad constellations: Independent Media, Civic Technology Data Governance and Fiscal Governance. The GCE team is located in various countries around the world and works collaboratively to address key governance challenges, through a combination of for-profit investments and non-profit grants in highly innovative organizations.
The Independent Media constellation aims to support independent media in contexts where free speech is under threat, in order to promote journalism and storytelling that holds those in power to account, reduces misinformation and encourages free and fair societies. A recent announcement regarding Omidyar Network’s commitment to the field can be seen here. Some recent media investments have been in organizations such as International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (which launched the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers), Rappler and Scroll.in – for-profit digital platforms in the Philippines and India, among others.
The Independent Media Associate will work with the Independent Media head, as well as GCE’s globally spread team, to develop and implement a renewed strategy for Omidyar Network’s investments in this space, given the rapidly changing nature and context of news media. (S)he will be responsible not only for supporting investment team members on diligence, deal execution and venture support for independent media opportunities in the various regions that we operate in, but also sourcing, leading and executing select “global” media deals that work across our regions. The Associate will report to the Director of Independent Media investments.
The location of this position is flexible, although there is a strong preference for the candidate to work from India, Singapore, Brazil or Argentina.
We typically look for emerging leaders with a track record of entrepreneurial thinking, a bias for action and the ability to work independently. Success in this role means the candidate will deliver the following:
- A healthy pipeline of for-profit and non-profit independent media deals that address the threats to the free press in Omidyar Network’s countries of interest
- Sophisticated valuations and technical evaluations of for-profit media deals in a variety of geographic markets, including Latin America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
- Effective leadership on a number of global independent media deals, including diligence, execution and portfolio management
- High impact support to regional investment leads (who will lead deals in their countries) on opportunities in investigative journalism, fighting misinformation and countering hate speech
- Insight into trends, best practices and themes in independent media
- Leverage to the Independent Media Director on developing and implementing the strategy for this constellation
- Leading and supporting on the sourcing, diligence and execution of investments
- Scoping out high impact independent media opportunities
- Supporting the review and analysis of investment proposals, business plans, and organization budgets; prioritizing opportunities, conducting necessary diligence on prospects (including valuation exercises on for-profit entities)
- Supporting deal execution by taking shortlisted opportunities through a well-defined approval and closing process, including definitive documentation, legal and financial due diligence (as applicable)
- Supporting portfolio organisations in their quest for impact
- Working closely with ON’s investees (for-profit and non-profit) on strategic aspects to help them scale successfully, achieve their financial targets and impact potential – for example, helping journalist-led media entities develop their revenue models
- Monitoring the performance of the investees (for-profit and non-profit) periodically and providing support to other deal leads on metrics and measurement
- Supporting the Independent Media Director on constellation strategy and execution
- Articulating the strategy for independent media at a local and global level
- Working with GCE staff across the world to drive a hands-on implementation of the strategy
- Measuring the success of the strategy over time
- Building media knowledge and insight
- Identifying and communicating key trends around independent media, countering misinformation and fighting hate speech for the benefit of the GCE team
- Building relationships with other investors and foundations to identify potential areas of collaboration and co-investment/ grant co-funding
- Contributing to ON’s knowledge management efforts by sharing key learnings and providing feedback on similar themes/ opportunities across ON’s target countries/ regions
- Upholding and executing on GCE’s and Omidyar Network’s mission
- Collaborate internally to advance ON strategy, consistent with our values and approach
- Represent ON in a manner that is consistent with our mission and values
Desired Skills and Experience
- Deep passion for free speech and independent media, good understanding of the investigative journalism space, and familiarity with key media innovations that are making a positive impact
- 5+ years of work experience; strong preference for those in direct, for-profit investing roles (e.g. in a leading private equity or venture capital firm, impact investment firm, foundations), business roles in media companies or strategy consulting/project management roles for reputed institutions
- Strong knowledge of the media landscape in the developing world – gained either as an investor or through working directly in a media company.
- Ability to evaluate proposed opportunities from multiple perspectives (strategic fit, expected impact, market opportunity, operational capability, business model, financial performance, valuation, etc.)
- Sound knowledge of investment execution (negotiating, documenting, closing, etc.)
- Strong strategic mind set and proven ability to innovate, collaborate and translate strategy into action
- Good communication skills: excellent writing and presentation skills; ability to communicate succinctly
- Good interpersonal skills: ability to work collaboratively with colleagues around the world
- Ability to travel periodically for project work
- Demonstrated experience handling multiple assignments simultaneously
- Flexibility and initiative to work both independently and as part of a global team
- MBA or equivalent post-graduate degree preferred
- Prior demonstrated interest in creating positive social impact desirable