Co-founder Marcelo Claure is returning to lead the newly independent Open Opportunity Fund with Paul Judge, while SoftBank invests in its $200m second fund.

Headshots of Marcelo Claure and Paul Judge framed by blue border
Marcelo Claure (L) and Paul Judge (R). Image courtesy of Open Opportunity Fund

Internet and telecommunications group SoftBank is spinning off its Open Opportunity Fund, formed to invest in black and Latin founders, but will remain a backer, as part of its $200m second fund.

The deal will also involve Marcelo Claure, who helped found Open Opportunity Fund in 2020 when he was CEO of SoftBank International, returning to co-lead the firm as general partner with chairman and managing partner Paul Judge. Claure left SoftBank early last year.

“As a Latino and Hispanic entrepreneur who was successful in growing businesses, I still had to fight harder to get funding,” Claure said this week. “Paul fought those same battles as a black entrepreneur.

“Together through the Open Opportunity Fund, we are investing back into our communities, ensuring that black and Latino innovators have the capital they need to grow profitable businesses.”

SoftBank launched Open Opportunity Fund as SB Opportunity Fund with $100m and it began fundraising for its sophomore fund earlier this year. It has backed more than 70 companies, with exits including accessible payment platform Arcus and conversational marketing software provider Drift, acquired by Mastercard and Vista Equity Partners respectively.

Judge and Claure are acquiring the portfolio of Open Opportunity Fund’s debut fund, and are seeking more limited partners for its successor.

“As the founding LP and an investor in Fund 2, SoftBank remains committed to building a community of diverse founders,” said Brett Rochkind, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, which runs SoftBank’s Vision Funds.

“We believe that under Marcelo and Paul’s leadership, the Open Opportunity Fund is strongly positioned to enter its next chapter, and we look forward to our continued support of its important mission.”

SoftBank had previously spun off its Latin America Fund, formed by Claure, into an independent firm called Upload Ventures in April 2022, three months after he left the company.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.