Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, has roped in Surya Mantha as director, investments, reports Afaqs! Mantha was previously executive director, convergence, Network18.

Mantha joined Web18, the Internet and mobile arm of Network18 in 2006 as the chief executive officer. He has over 15 years of experience in the industry.

As part of his new role, Mantha will focus on investment areas related to digital media, consumer internet, mobile value added services and mobile payments, added the report. VCCircle could not independently confirm the development from Mantha. His Linked-in profile still reads his designation as CEO of Web18.

In October last year, the global investment firm formed its India entity called Omidyar Network India Advisors. Jayant Sinha, the former managing director of Courage Capital Management, is leading the India unit as MD. 

Mantha has experience that spans business management, consulting, product and service development, product management & marketing across a range of business and consumer software, hardware & services companies. 

Prior to joining Web18, he was senior vice president, Interactive Services at Sify Ltd. He was also general manager at RealNetworks Inc., a creator of digital media services and software; and principal at PRTM, a management consulting firm providing operational strategy, supply chain, product development, and customer value management. He also worked with Xerox Corporation in the US. 

Omidyar Network was funded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam.  It primarily invests in microfinance, social media and market places, and has operations in Asia, Africa, US, Europe and Latin America, according to the information available on the company website. 

As of October 2009, the firm has invested over $43 million in India. Some of its portfolio investments include Rural Development Institute, a non-profit organisation that brings land rights to rural India; Quikr, an online classifieds company in India; and private equity fund Unitus Equity Fund.

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