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SoftBank commits $100 million to invest in companies led by black Americans and people of color: 'We need to do better'

Stacy Brown-Philpot taskrabbit softbank
  • Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank is launching a new $100 million "Opportunity Growth Fund" to invest in companies led by black Americans and people of color, the company announced Wednesday.
  • The fund is meant to encourage diversity in the overwhelmingly-white world of venture capital and startups, and its creation comes amid protests across the US against racism and police brutality.
  • COO Marcelo Claure said SoftBank "absolutely has to do better as an employer, investor, and partner" to address racism and racial disparities, and that the Opportunity Growth Fund is a "concrete step."
  • The fund's founding members are two black leaders in tech: TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and Pindrop cofounder Paul Judge.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
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.
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."
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