Tech

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar gives nearly $2M to defund police

The billionaire founder of e-commerce site eBay plowed money into a private security startup billed as the “Uber for bodyguards” — while also donating nearly $2 million to groups that advocate de-funding or abolishing the police, according to a report.

Pierre Omidyar, whose wealth is valued by Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $8.91 billion as of Friday, reportedly forked over $500,000 to organizations that protested the police-involved killing of George Floyd in 2020 through his charitable group, the Omidyar Network.

Two other organizations tied to the Omidyar Network — PolicyLink and Democracy Fund — received $1.3 million to sponsor a website called DefundPolice.org, a tool used by advocates to call for cuts to police budgets, according to independent journalist Lee Fang.

The Omidyar Network donated $300,000 to The Movement for Black Lives, an organization that describes itself as an “abolitionist” coalition, reported Fang, who prior to becoming an independent journalist worked for years as a reporter for The Intercept, a news site founded by Omidyar.

“When we say ‘defund and abolish the police,’ we mean exactly that,” the Movement for Black Lives wrote in a recent statement.


Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay, has donated to groups that support abolishing police, according to a report.
Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay, has donated to groups that support abolishing police, according to a report.
Corbis via Getty Images

Calls to defund and abolish police grew in the wake of the 2020 police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Calls to defund and abolish police grew in the wake of the 2020 police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
AFP via Getty Images

Fang cited tax records showing that Omidyar Network gave another $100,000 to a Chicago-based group called Equity and Transformation, which flies the banner of “defund[ing] police.”

But as a private investor, Omidyar has poured his considerable wealth into start-ups such as Bond, a New York-based company that allows people to order a bodyguard on demand, Fang wrote.

The Post has sought comment from the Omidyar Network.

Founded in 2017, the company raised $72 million in funding, including investments from Omidyar. Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is an advisor to the Bond board.

“With the Bond platform, bodyguards are no longer just for celebrities and executives,” according to the company’s website.


Omidyar is also reportedly an investor in the Bond app, a private security company that allows users to order a bodyguard on demand.
Omidyar is also reportedly an investor in the Bond app, a private security company that allows users to order a bodyguard on demand.

“Now you can reserve affordable, highly-trained, and professional bodyguards whenever you need them, on-demand via the Bond platform and app.”

Omidyar’s investment portfolio also includes a stake in Deep Sentinel, an AI-powered security camera system that is used to identify intruders, according to Fang.

Both the Bond app and Deep Sentinel have used the nationwide surge in crime — much of it attributed to the Defund the Police movement — to offer their products as alternatives.


Calls to defund police have coincided with a surge in crime nationwide.
Calls to defund police have coincided with a surge in crime nationwide.
LightRocket via Getty Images

Kelly told Fox News that “the police unfortunately have taken a step back” in recent years and that Bond “fills in the gap when you feel somewhat uncomfortable.”

Deep Sentinel recently told Fox News that its business has “tripled” in the last year due to concerns over rising crime.

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