SoftBank announces launch of second $108B Vision Fund, investors include Microsoft, Apple
SoftBank has announced that it has received approximately $108 billion in commitments for the planned establishment of its new fund, ‘SoftBank Vision Fund 2’.
In a statement, the Japanese conglomerate commented that the objective of the fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution through investment in leading tech-enabled growth companies.
Further, Softbank intends to invest close to $38 billion in the fund.
In addition to this, other investors (or limited partners) in the fund include - Apple, Foxconn Technology Group, Microsoft Corporation, Mizuho Bank , Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, SMBC Nikko Securities Inc, Daiwa Securities Group Inc, National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and major participants from Taiwan.
However, the Japanese conglomerate says that the discussions are ongoing to add new participants in the fund and the total anticipated capital contribution to the fund is expected to increase.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that SoftBank is expected to infuse $40 billion into its second tech-focussed mega fund.
It stated that the Japanese behemoth was looking at an ‘unlikely coalition of investors’, including names like Apple, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, and the Kazakhstan government, some of which Softbank mentioned while announcing the fund.
Further, the news of the second Vision Fund focussing on AI doesn’t come as a surprise, considering reports emerged last year that the founder of Softbank, Masayoshi Son has been investing a considerable amount of its time on AI. He has also been quoted saying that AI continues to be the common thread to Softbank’s investment strategy.
Globally, through its Vision Fund, Softbank has written big cheques to startups worldwide. Closer home, in India, Softbank has made big-ticket investments including OYO Rooms, OlaCabs, Flipkart, Grofers, Delhivery, Hike and Paytm, amongst others, giving a boost to valuations of these businesses.
Recently, data by CB Insights showed that the SoftBank Group has the largest list of unicorn companies under its portfolio in India followed by Tiger Global and Tencent.
SoftBank, which has made aggressive bets on the Indian startup ecosystem, has seven Indian unicorns in its portfolio, while Tiger Global and Tencent have three each.
The SoftBank Vision Fund was announced in 2016. In 2017, the firm closed $93 billion and later the fund size became $98 billion.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)