As protests against racism and police brutality stretch into their second week across the United States, SoftBank Group’s chief operating officer, Marcelo Claure, sent an email to staff Wednesday announcing a new commitment to diversity initiatives.
Specifically, SoftBank will launch a $100 million “Opportunity Growth Fund” overseen by black leaders in tech that will exclusively fund businesses led by black Americans and people of color, according to the memo.
“When it comes to diversity, SoftBank absolutely has to do better as an employer, investor, and partner. But we can’t just talk — we have to put money behind it, set plans, and hold ourselves accountable,” Claure wrote. “This fund will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color.”
The fund will be overseen by Claure, along with two founding members who are black leaders in tech: TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and Pindrop cofounder Paul Judge.
The fund is meant to help improve diversity in the world of venture-capital-backed startups, which are overwhelmingly led by white male founders. Just 1% of venture-backed startups are led by black people, according to Crunchbase.
“Founders and entrepreneurs of color have so much potential, but they face unfair barriers that white founders don’t face,” Claure wrote. “This is our opportunity remove those barriers for a new generation of founders.”
Business insider / Balkantimes.press