SoftBank and Its Vision Funds
SOFTBANK Corp. a Japanese MNC holding company was founded in September 1981 by Masayoshi Son who was just 24 years than. It is the second largest publicly traded company in Japan only to surpass Toyota; it is the 38th largest public company on Forbes Global 2000 list
It is world renowned for its Vision Fund which is world’s largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capitaland aggressive investment strategies primarily investing in companies in line of AI apart from this this juggernaut also owns stakes in Softbank Corp. (ja), Softbank Vision Fund (ja), and many more companies. The business interests of this group varies from fixed-line telecommunications;broadband; semiconductor design; e-commerce; internet; finance; media and marketing; technology services;and other businesses. In October 99 Softbank became a holding company.
Major Ventures/ Investments
After going public in 1994 with a valued at $3 billion a year later on September 1995 it purchased Ziff Davis publishing for $2.1 billion a U.S. publishing house.
SoftBank on 1 April 1995 bought COMDEX from The Interface Group for $800 million, and ZDI a year later, 90’s was where Son saw the power of internet after an advise from one of his writers who inspired him so much that he decided to make it big in internet services Internet services.
In 1996, SoftBankis when JV was done with Yahoo thus creating Yahoo! Japan which is till date the dominant site of Japan.
2000, was the year of the most profitable investment done by SoftBank which gave them a return of 300,000% till date with just $20 million to the then least known Alibaba. Today this investment is valued more than $60 billion, what a bet!
In 2013, French company Aldebaran Robotics caught attention of Softbank, brought a controlling stake and was rebranded SoftBank Robotics.Pepper, a humanoid robot was co-designed by both teams jointly.
Korean e-commerce website “Coupang” was invested with US$1 million In June 2015 by SoftBank expecting it to be the next Alibaba
WeWork got an investment from Softbank Of $4.4 billion on 25 August 2017 and also went ahead and bought BOSTON DYNAMICS for an undisclosed amount from the Alphabet Inc.
Vision Fund 2
July 2019, SoftBank with its own $38 billion along with investors like Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and others formed “Vision Fund 2”, making the fund approximately $108 billion primarily focused in artificial intelligence related investments.
January 2018, SoftBank became Uber’s biggest shareholder, with a 15 percent stake. Though Uber still operates in losses but the future is more promising as the company has been venturing into new domains like “UberFleet”
German used-car sales portal Auto1 gained an investment $560 million in 2018 beginning and later in March went ahead and invested $535 million in DoorDash. In September 2018, Softbank promised to invest$400 Million in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor.
“SoftBank Team Japan”was the team sold to Softbank for the America’s Cup and it raced in the 2017 races held in Bermuda. It also sponsors Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, Japanese professional football team