SoftBank is moving its Opportunity Fund, focused on founders of color, to Miami.
The fund has invested in some Miami-area startups already, including blockchain company QuickNode.
Miami has been much hyped from the influx of VCs but "the energy is real," a SoftBank VP tells us.
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Earlier this year, SoftBank Group joined the growing herd of investors planting stakes in Miami as the next big startup hub.
But Shu Nyatta, the managing partner who helps run its $100 million Opportunity Fund for Black, Latinx, and Native American founders, had long been planning to move there, he tells Insider.
In 2019, SoftBank launched a $5 billion fund focused on Latin America, a region that is notably overlooked by VCs. Nyatta hoped to jump on opportunities in Miami while it was still off the radar. He'd secured an apartment and got a Florida drivers license.
But just as he was planning to move, in early 2020, the pandemic hit the US.
"Everything just stopped. Now I look like a lemming following these other VCs out there," he joked in an interview with Insider.
Miami has indeed become a hotspot for venture capitalists, including Founder Fund's Keith Rabois and Atomic's Jack Abraham, and its mayor, Francis Suarez, has been an advocate for tech startups.
But the move makes particular sense for SoftBank's Opportunity Fund, Nyatta said, given the racial and ethnic diversity in the Miami metro area. More than 70% of the city's population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau, while about 17% is Black.
On top of that, one of the long-time pillars of Miami's tech scene is Marcelo Claure, Softbank COO and CEO of its international group.
The Opportunity Fund has already invested in several Miami-area startups, including blockchain development company QuickNode, vision diagnostics company Heru, and cybersecurity company Lumu.