SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate that is already upending all startup hubs from Silicon Valley to Beijing to Bangalore with its mammoth $93 billion Vision Fund, is now contemplating a similar giant fund with possibly an even larger corpus, reveals Recode.
The plans and discussion are still at an early stage. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son intends to close a pool of investment capital that may support the existing giant tech fund which has in its year or so of existence has made some larger than life, if not oft controversial investments in a plethora of tech startups.
"It's conceptual, but serious," Recode quotes its source.
Son has been vocal that the technologies we see and use today are set for major upheavals in the coming times. He has also made it clear that it is his belief that the early investors in these new and disruptive technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence will be among the first to be rewarded with the biggest paybacks.
It is not yet certain how large this second fund maybe or who will be investing in it, all that seems to be clear at present is that the second fund maybe larger than the Vision Fund it is intended to supplement.
Current investors of the Vision Fund includes the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to these sovereign wealth funds, there may be “many more wealth funds from foreign countries eager to gain access to shares in high-flying U.S. tech companies to draw from,” speculates the media outlet.
This follow on fund may raise questions about the SoftBank’s agenda and its purpose with the Vision Fund. Both have strived and achieved awe and has even managed to puzzle venture capitalists and investors around the world with their mountain of cash. Typically, venture funds may raise new capital from limited partners only every two to three years to deploy new investments or make follow up investments.
SoftBank's fund is different in its approach. So far, it has acquired stakes in some of Silicon Valley's popular companies like Slack and WeWork, but has drawn criticism for its short due diligence process and ready willingness to “drastically outbid rival investors”.
The Vision Fund is reportedly said to be on course to deploy billions of dollars, if the complex secondary purchase of an estimated $10 billion in existing shares of Uber comes through in the very near future.
Meanwhile SoftBank is yet to close the Vision Fund, headed by London-based Rajeev Misra. The Fund announced a partial close at $93 billion of its stipulated $100 billion. News of what will happen to the remaining $7 billion and where will it be invested has been slow to come.
In addition the Vision Fund is in the middle of making several senior-level talent recruitments, including a vice president to handle business operations, according to posted job listings. Recode further says that the Fund has already onboarded a former LinkedIn exec Deep Nishar and former Shutterfly CEO Jeff Housenbold.