Vision for the future: SoftBank sets new private fund for global tech startups
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Photo Credit: SoftBank website screenshot

The SoftBank Vision Fund expects to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years

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Japanese telco and internet giant SoftBank today announced the establishment of its private fund, which will be tentatively named SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF).

Targetting tech companies globally, SoftBank expects to invest at least $25 billion over the next five years through the fund.

The company had signed a non-binding MOU this month with the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF). PIF will consider investing in SVF and becoming its lead investment partner, with the potential investment size of up to $45 billion over the next five years.

In a press statement, SoftBank also claimed that “a few large global investors” are in talks to join the company and PIF to participate in the new fund.

Previously, SoftBank had invested in several tech startups from Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab, Indonesian e-commerce giant Tokopedia, Indian ride-hailing giant Ola, Indian e-commerce giant Snapdeal, and Chinese AI startup CloudMinds, to name a few.

SoftBank’s journey in tech startup investment is not without controversy.

In January, SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son hinted plans to scale up its planned $10 billion investment in India, despite earlier statement by COO and President Nikesh Arora that the company is planning to shut down its venture capital arm.

“As we look at the future for the next tens of years, we believe that the way to preserve the long-term sustainability of SoftBank is to be large, minority shareholders of many assets. We believe that it’s less crowded in the large-check marketplace,” Arora once said.

In June, SoftBank made headlines again when Arora stepped down, with investor groups demanding for an investigation into his “poor investment performance and a series of questionable transactions” during his tenure as Head of Investments.

A former SoftBank head of investment and M&A had just been announced as President of Grab today.

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