SoftBank’s second Vision Fund makes a rather unspectacular start

Masayoshi Son. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

SoftBank Group Corp. has quietly completed an initial money-raising push for its second technology fund, at a fraction of its targeted $108 billion.

The Japanese company has raised roughly $2 billion for the second Vision Fund so it can start backing startups, according to two people familiar with the matter. This stage of the fund-raising process is known as a first close, and SoftBank will continue gathering commitments. A Vision Fund spokesman declined to comment.

SoftBank said in July that its second Vision Fund would be even larger than the first, which broke records in 2017 by raising almost $100 billion. This time around, SoftBank has said it is taking more control, committing $38 billion of its own capital and replacing Saudi Arabia, which was the largest investor in the first fund.

So far, it is unclear whether there are any outside investors in the second fund. The original Vision Fund was announced in October 2016, but took another seven months for its first major closing with $93 billion in commitments.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which contributed $45 billion and $15 billion, respectively, to the first fund, are reconsidering how much to put into the new fund, Bloomberg News previously reported.

Talks with Saudi Arabia are still ongoing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. Mubadala recently told Bloomberg News it had yet to decide on whether it would invest.

SoftBank has said the second fund is also expected to collect money from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Foxconn Technology Group and the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan.

WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc., two of the largest investments made by SoftBank and the first Vision Fund, have performed poorly this year. That’s prompted some soul-searching at the Japanese company.

“There was a problem with my own judgment, that’s something I have to reflect on,” SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said.

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.