Saturday, March 2

Softbank Will Launch New Vision Fund in “Near Future”

Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank Group Corp, the world’s largest private equity fund, announced that he was keen to set up a second Vision Fund in the near future, despite still having capital remaining in its $100 Bn Vision Fund of May 2017.

In a conference held in Tokyo, the business mogul stated that capital will be raised from existing institutional investors for this new fund. Although Son said that the fund will launch in the “near future”, he did however, specify that it won’t be before the coming six months.

“Vision Fund 2 will definitely come,” said Masayoshi Son at the conference, although the actual size of the fund has been kept confidential.

The Vision Fund I is currently controlled by Softbank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and designated CEO of Softbank Vision Fund, Rajeev Mishra.

Softbank has been a leading investor in the booming Indian startup ecosystem, investing primarily in innovative sectors such as IoT, robotics, AI, among others with funding rounds worth $100 Mn-$ 500 Mn. The company first made public its intentions of helping Indian startups flourish by allotting $10 Bn for Indian tech-driven companies in October 2014. Son then revised this capital fund in December 2016 by stating that the amount he wishes to invest in India will surpass $10 Bn in the years to come.

Several media reports also suggest that Softbank is willing to shift stakes worth over $20 Bn it owns from investments in ride-hailing companies such as Ola, Uber Technologies Inc, Didi-Chuxing and Grab, to Saudi-backed Vision Technology Fund. This shifting of stakes will grant the companies access to Vision Fund’s resources, which will allow better collaboration between businesses around the world, therefore leading to faster growth and additional opportunities.

In 2017, Softbank invested more than $6 Bn in Indian companies such as $2.5 Bn in Flipkart, $1.4 Bn in Paytm, $2 Bn in Ola and $250 Mn in OYO. While visiting India in April 2018, the business tycoon echoed his willingness to invest additionally in India. “With $7 Bn already invested, the investment figures are likely to supersede our commitments.”

While Softbank is yet to decide whether or not to sell its 20% stakes in Flipkart to Walmart, Masayoshi Son is already looking forward with a possible $200 Mn investment in PolicyBazaar. Once the deal goes through, the firm will be the newest addition to the elite Indian business unicorn club.