SoftBank could launch Vision Fund sequel as early as this week: Report

Billionaire Masayoshi Son in Tokyo in July 2017. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Japan’s SoftBank is gearing up for the launch of the sequel to its $100-billion Vision Fund as soon as this week, with existing major investors likely to be its biggest backers, according to a Bloomberg report.

The anticipated launch will bring into fruition Son’s plan to raise a new $100-billion fund every two to three years and could further reshape the role venture capital — and to an extent, private equity — plays in bringing startups to life and helping them survive.

SoftBank could shell out as much as $50 billion from its own coffers for the new fund, a higher commitment than its $28 billion in the first Vision Fund. The report said SoftBank is eyeing a final close for the fund in March 2020.

Two of Vision Fund’s earliest investors, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., are expected to be major backers of the new investment vehicle. New investors are also expected to participate, according to the report.

In October last year, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed in a Bloomberg interview that his country’s sovereign fund plans to invest $45 billion into the second SoftBank Vision fund, just two years after putting the same amount into the first fund.

Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, made a $15-billion commitment to the first Vision Fund in 2017 and is likely to continue investing in the second fund.

Launched in 2016, the first Vision Fund had invested $64 billion in 71 companies, generating a 62 per cent return as of June this year. Its portfolio includes Uber, WeWork, Slack, DoorDash, and China’s Didi Chuxing.

An earlier Wall Street Journal report had said that some money managers, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds, plan to make limited or no contributions to the SoftBank Vision Fund II.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.