SoftBank’s $100 bln Vision Fund to invest in 70-100 tech firms: official

SoftBank’s massive $100 billion Vision Fund will make between 70 and 100 investments in technology firms, chief executive Rajeev Misra told CNBC on Monday.

Since closing the first major round of investment in May 2017, the Vision Fund has invested in 30 companies, from ride-hailing service Uber to chipmaker Nvidia to Indian e-commerce player Flipkart.

When asked how many companies the Vision Fund would invest in, Misra told CNBC that it would be between 70 and 100 firms.

The fund has already deployed about a third of its capital, according to SoftBank’s latest financial release.

Misra said the fund’s appeal comes down to the fact that it’s a “patient, long-term” investor.

“We do get every call for any company raising significant capital, we get the first call. Not because we have the capital, there’s enough capital in this world. Because we have the ecosystem now, and the ecosystem has an exponential effect,” Misra told CNBC in a TV interview at Mobile World Congress.

Misra explained that by “ecosystem” he means SoftBank can connect the companies it invests in to each other to see if they can work together, as well as introducing them to new markets.

But SoftBank’s fund has received some criticism for driving the valuations of private technology companies higher. This has the potential to affect some venture capitalists who may find it harder to invest in funding rounds at higher valuations.

Misra said that the Vision Fund has an “extremely symbiotic” relationship with venture capitalists and provides liquidity for early investors that got into technology start-ups.

“The VC community benefits from the Vision Fund because we normally make primary investments into the company. We also buy secondary in all of our investments, from the VCs who really want to exit,” Misra said.

Secondary shares are bought by a new investor from an existing investor.

Source: CNBC