SoftBank Group, the global Telecommunication and Internet giant from Japan, recently announced the first close for its unprecedented and massively ambitious $100 billion Vision Fund—a staggering $93 billion venture capital fund.
The announcement, building on SoftBank’s earlier ties with the White House, coincided with the US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East, home to the two key investors in the venture capital fund.
Vision Fund is the largest pool of private capital ever mobilized in the history, and with $93 billion dollars already committed from a host of hugely reputed backers—the names include Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn, Sharp, UAE-based Mubadala Investment Company, and Saudi Arabia’s PID public fund—SoftBank has all the arsenal it needs to fire up the imagination of companies working on developing the next-generation technologies that will shape our future.
And that’s precisely what the venture capital fund has already done by actively putting in the money in promising startups across the world. Recent investments have been in Paytm, Indian fintech and eCommerce startup; Improbable Worlds, a virtual reality firm; OneWeb, a global communications company; and Didi Chuxing, China’s Uber killer. The fund’s target of $100 billion is expected to be reached within the next six months.
The fund led by Rajeev Misra would commit to deals with a minimum ticket size of $100 million and more likely those in the range of $500 million and above, with either a majority or minority stake in private or public companies.
SoftBank chairman, Masayoshi Son, emphasized that Vision Fund is primarily aimed at building a worldwide ecosystem for the next phase of the Internet and connectivity, a clear indicator to the critical role Internet of Things (IoT) is going to play in realizing a truly connected world. To quote Son, “SoftBank has long made bold investments in transformative technologies and supported disruptive entrepreneurs. The SoftBank Vision Fund is consistent with this strategy and will help build and grow businesses creating the foundational platforms of the next stage of the Information Revolution.”
Disruptive companies operating in promising areas such as IoT, AI, Robotics, Telecom, Computing Infrastructure, FinTech, and Biotech are the likely candidates for attracting investment from Vision Fund.