In an unprecedented move that is sure to send waves through the world of tech investing, SoftBank has made a strategic shift in its Opportunity Fund.
Now rebranded as the “Open Opportunity Fund”, it’s opening its doors to other limited partners (LPs) and organisations.
This significant change marks a departure from the fund’s previous model, which was solely backed by SoftBank.
What is SoftBank Opportunity Fund?
Launched in June 2020, the original SB Opportunity Fund was a $100 million venture aimed at fostering innovation and growth in the tech sector.
As the fund marks its third anniversary, SoftBank is not only renaming it but also ushering in a new era with a robust $150 million second fund.
This newly rechristened Open Opportunity Fund looks set to continue the fund’s mission, with a laser-like focus on investing in Black- and Latino-led startups.
Spearheading this exciting venture is serial entrepreneur and investor Paul Judge, who steps into the role of Chairman.
Having served as a founding investment committee member, Judge brings with him a wealth of experience and insight, primed to steer the fund into its next chapter.
SoftBank Make Bold Shift to ‘Woke’ Funding
SoftBank’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is palpable, particularly against the backdrop of a general venture decline, especially for underrepresented founders.
Last year saw a steep decline in venture capital funding for Black-founded startups in the U.S. Despite a record $5.1 billion in venture capital being funnelled into these startups in 2021, this figure fell dramatically to $2.3 billion in 2022 as VCs pulled back.
Since its inception, the Opportunity Fund has committed its initial $100 million to 75 Black- and Latinx-led companies, including start-ups such as Atomic, Brex, Career Karma, Mayvenn, and Squire.
The Open Opportunity Fund aims to build on this legacy, targeting an additional $150 million in investments.
“The Opportunity Fund model has proven effective in increasing access to capital for founders who have traditionally been overlooked. We remain committed to the fund and its mission,” stated Brett Rochkind, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisors.
Funding Chasing Diversity a ‘Growing Trend’ in Tech World
SoftBank’s move to open its fund to other LPs underscores a growing trend in the tech world – one that champions inclusivity and diversity.
It further propels SoftBank’s mission to support underrepresented and diverse voices in the tech start-up landscape, underlining the global tech behemoth’s pioneering ethos.
The innovative fund has seen seven successful exits since its inception and made investments in five unicorn companies, solidifying its position as a premier force in identifying and supporting high-growth opportunities.
The rebranded Open Opportunity Fund signals not just a name change, but a renewed commitment to fostering growth and diversity within the world of tech investing.
As the world awaits the next wave of tech innovation, the Open Opportunity Fund is poised to play a role in shaping the emerging tech landscape, setting the stage for a future where diversity and inclusivity are the norm, not the exception.
And with the dynamic Paul Judge at the helm, the fund is undoubtedly on track to make waves in the world of tech investing.
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