homestartup NewsSoftbank to invest $2 million in US startups led by minorities

Softbank to invest $2 million in US startups led by minorities

Softbank to invest $2 million in US startups led by minorities
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By Palak Agarwal  Jun 20, 2020 10:13:29 AM IST (Updated)

SoftBank Group Corp will invest $2 million or more in 14 U.S. startups led by black founders and other under-represented groups, as part of its effort to fund more a more diverse array of entrepreneurs.

SoftBank Group Corp will invest $2 million or more in 14 U.S. startups led by black founders and other under-represented groups, as part of its effort to fund more a more diverse array of entrepreneurs.

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The investments will be a part of the Emerge accelerator programme which partners with Softbank Investment Advisers & WeWork and focuses on underrepresented founders. The 8-week program which was launched in May this year, provides early-stage startups with access to key SoftBank professionals and portfolio companies, educational sessions and connections across the global WeWork Labs platform to help scale their business.
"At WeWork, we are committed to helping foster change & demonstrating this through action. In partnership with SoftBank, we started Emerge to utilize our platform in support of underrepresented founders, but also to ensure there is more diversity within the startup ecosystem. It is exciting to see the progress these 14 innovative startups have made, & I’m so confident they will continue to have a positive impact on our communities in the months & years to come," said Sandeep Mathrani, CEO OF WeWork.
The program’s first cohort officially began on April 27, & is made up of 14 startups. The Emerge website describes the program as based in San Mateo, Calif. — but given COVID-19, the sessions and programming are all virtual. The first class of the Emerge program pitched their companies to the investors in an online video presentation on June 18. Koniku, Moment AI, Ojha Express are some of the startups representing the minority in the programme.
A 2019 study by RateMyInvestor and DiversityVC found that among 100,000 entrepreneurs who received venture capital funding in the US, only 1 percent was Black. According to a 2019 study by the Center for Talent Innovation, 65 percent of Black professionals felt that they had to work harder than others to achieve the same success in the workplace, while only 16 percent of white professionals felt the same way.
Earlier in June, Softbank announced a $100 million Opportunity Fund that will invest only in companies led by people of color. The fund was created in response to worldwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
This week, the tech giant Google announced a $175 million economic opportunity package to support Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers, and developers. In a note sent to the company, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said, 'We know that racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity'. The tech giant also launched #GoogleforStartups Accelerator for Black Founders, a 3-month program Seed to Series A startups.
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