SoftBank has announced that it is launching a new $100 million fund called the Opportunity Growth Fund that SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure has confirmed “will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color,” reports Axios. The fund is the largest capital reserves ever dedicated to solely supporting businesses run by people of color.
Announcing the fund in a letter to employees, Claure said, “Founders and entrepreneurs of color have so much potential, but they face unfair barriers that white founders don’t face. This is our opportunity [to] remove those barriers for a new generation of founders” and went on to explain that the fund will invest in “companies that use technology to disrupt traditional business models.”
The launch of the Opportunity Growth Fund comes in the midst of protests in all 50 U.S. states against the deaths of black Americans, including George Floyd, at the hands of police. While many companies, particularly tech companies, have publicly voiced their support for the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement in general, others have been quick to point out that talk is cheap and such support often translates into little more than “Black Power-washing.”
SoftBank’s $100 million Opportunity Growth Fund, on the other hand, promises to make a tangible, lasting contribution to the lives of people of color, or at least some of the entrepreneurs among them. As for the rest of us who don’t have hundreds of millions to support people of color, there are still plenty of other ways we can lend a hand.