Former SoftBank Execs Claure, Passoni Visit Brazil’s Central Bank Chief

Bloomberg Línea has learned that Marcelo Claure and former SoftBank executives in Latin America have teamed up in a new fund to invest in startups

Executive led investments by the Japanese conglomerate in startups in Latin America
March 15, 2023 | 05:13 PM

Bloomberg Línea — SoftBank’s former COO Marcelo Claure and the fund’s former managing partner for Latin America Paulo Passoni meet with the president of Brazil’s Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, on Wednesday, at a time when the Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) failure generates concerns about the liquidity of startups and raises fears about banking in the financial market. According to the Brazilian Central Bank, the meeting is “to address institutional matters”.

The meeting was scheduled to take place from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm Brazil time, as published in the agenda of the Central Bank authorities, at the Central Bank headquarters in Brasilia. Closed to the press, the meeting was classified as adhering “to the rules of the silence of Copom (the decision-making body of the Central Bank on monetary policy)” meaning it covers all subjects that are somehow related to the Brazilian or international economy, interest rates, exchange rates “or any others that may influence or be influenced by Copom decisions.

When contacted by Bloomberg Línea, the Cenbank press office said it will not communicate anything beyond what is on the agenda.

Claure and Passoni are some of the most renowned executives in the sector in the region and have had a direct role in some of the largest venture capital investment operations in America in recent years.


Passoni, who is still on sabbatical for another 47 days since leaving SoftBank in Latin America about a year ago, was introduced by BC as co-founder of Bicycle Capital, a Miami-based investment vehicle created in April 2022 by Shu Nyatta , also a former key member of the Japanese group in Latin America. Passoni denies that he is a co-founder. Bicycle won’t comment.

Bloomberg Línea learned that, in addition to Nyatta and Passoni, Claure should also work together at Bicycle. The three will join together to make investments through the fund, but Claure and Passoni still have non-compete days with SoftBank.Nyatta and Passoni left SoftBank in 2022 in the wake of Claure’s departure. They were replaced by Alex Szapiro and Juan Franck, SoftBank’s new leaders for Latin America, who are now under the umbrella of Alex Clavel.

Claure posted on his Twitter account a photo flying around Brazil in a helicopter on Tuesday saying he had “a full day in Brazil exploring opportunities”.


He, who is CEO and founder of Claure Group, his family office, is investing in technology companies in Latin America and was in talks with private equity firm Apollo for a possible acquisition of Latin American telecom Millicom.

The Bolivian-born executive is also expected to lead Shein in Latin America, according to Bloomberg News.

Billionaire Marcelo Claure was a key player in the venture capital ecosystem in Latin America when he convinced SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son to look to the region by leading the SoftBank Latin America Fund in 2019.

After Claure left the Japanese conglomerate in early 2022 over a disagreement about his remuneration, SoftBank went through a chair dance in key executive positions that relate to operations in the region.


One of the consequences was the split with the fund focused on early-stage investments. Former Redpoint eventures Rodrigo Baer and his partners moved to SoftBank to set up the fund focused on investments in early-stage startups in Latin America, an area in which the Japanese conglomerate was not used to investing in the region. Baer told Bloomberg Línea that the early-stage fund operated a little apart from SoftBank’s core group, as those partners had a special arrangement with Claure.

“There were some things we were able to do in the early stage that wasn’t the ‘parent’ SoftBank rule. It was an agreement we had with Marcelo [Claure]. When Marcelo left, we thought people tend to forget about agreements and so we took advantage of that it was already a little bit separate and separated it for good,” Baer said in a conversation with Bloomberg Línea in 2022.

Bloomberg Línea found that SoftBank does not pay “carry” (commission) to fund managers, but that Claure had guaranteed that payment to the early-stage fund.


In April 2022, the early-stage fund was split off to create Upload Ventures, in a merger with Corton Capital, founded by Carlos Simonsen. With the merger, Upload gets the smaller tickets, and Corton, the post-Series A checks.

----Article updated with information that Claure, Passoni and Nyatta should work together on Bicycle, but Passoni denies that he is a co-founder of the vehicle

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