Two sources familiar with the new venture said the financial backer was Omidyar. It was not immediately clear if he was the only backer or if there were other partners.
Omidyar could not immediately be reached for comment.
Omidyar, who is chairman of the board at eBay Inc but is not involved in day-to-day operations at the company, has numerous philanthropic, business and political interests, mainly through an investment entity called the Omidyar Network.
Forbes pegged the 46-year-old Omidyar's net worth at $8.5 billion.
Among his ventures is Honolulu Civil Beat, a news website covering public affairs in Hawaii. Civil Beat aimed to create a new online journalism model with paid subscriptions and respectful comment threads, though it is unclear how successful it has been.
Omidyar, a French-born Iranian-American, also founded the Democracy Fund to support "social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public," according to its website.
Omidyar's active Twitter account suggests he is very concerned about the government spying programs exposed by Greenwald and Snowden.