Japan’s tech giant SoftBank has been pumping billions of dollars into tech companies, both public and privately held, in the last year — so much so that one investor has questioned whether SoftBank is fueling a new valuation bubble in tech.
Some of these investments are coming from the gigantic SoftBank Vision Fund, which includes funds from SoftBank as well as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and tech companies like Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm and Sharp. The fund announced in May that it had closed $93 billion in capital, and hopes to raise $100 billion by the end of the year.
But SoftBank has also announced many investments that don’t involve the Vision Fund. According to reports and sources familiar, some of these investments will be offered to the Vision Fund, while others will not.
Here’s a partial list:
Vision Fund investments:
- Brain Corp, an AI company working on tech for self-driving robots, received a $114 million investment from the Vision Fund in July.
- Plenty, specializing in vertical farming, landed $200 million from the Vision Fund in July.
SoftBank investments that are expected to be offered to the Vision Fund
- Nauto – A softbank SoftBank and GM led a $159 million investment in self-driving car start-up Nauto in June, and Softbank is expected to offer its portion of this investment to the Vision Fund.
- Nvidia – SoftBank invested $4 billion in graphics chip-maker Nvidia in May, and is expected to offer this investment to the Vision Fund.
- Improbable – SoftBank led a $500 million investment into this UK virtual reality start-up in May, and is expected to offer its portion of this investment to the Vision Fund.
- Guardant Health – SoftBank led a $360 million investment in this cancer-detection start-up in May, and is expected to offer its portion of this investment to the Vision Fund.
- OSlsoft – SoftBank announced an investment in industrial software maker OSIsoft in May, and is expected to this investment to the Vision Fund. The amount of the investment was not disclosed, but Reuters reported it to be in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
- OneWeb – SoftBank invested $1 billion in this satellite-based Internet provider last December, but is expected to offer this investment to the Vision Fund.
- ARM – SoftBank bought the British mobile chip designer for $32 billion last year, and is expected to offer 24.99% of its holdings to the Vision Fund.
- SoFi – SoftBank led a $1 billion investment in online personal finance company and lending start-up SoFi in 2015, and is expected to offer its portion of this investment to the Vision Fund.
SoftBank investments that are not currently expected to be offered to the Vision Fund
- WeWork – SoftBank announced in July that it was participating in a complicated $500 million investment that will create a Chinese subsidiary of the U.S. workspace-sharing start-up.
- Boston Dynamics – In June, SoftBank bought this robotics start-up that was previously a division of Google holding company Alphabet. SoftBank has not disclosed intentions to transfer to the Vision Fund.
This week, SoftBank was also reported to be considering an investment of “billions” in ride-hailing giant Uber, and to be leading a $250 million investment in business messaging platform Slack.