Four SoftBank-backed startups approved for US paycheck loan programme

US dollars. Photographed by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Four technology startups backed by SoftBank Group Corp’s $100 billion Vision Fund were among the small companies approved for a U.S. pandemic aid program, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Monday.

Car-sharing startup Getaround Inc., which raised $300 million in a round led by SoftBank in 2018, was listed as approved for a $5-10 million loan. The Treasury Department provided only ranges for loan amounts, and did not identify by name those recipients seeking loans of less than $150,000.

In-car monitoring technology firm Nauto Inc. was approved for $2-5 million. It raised around $150 million in July 2017 in a round led by SoftBank.

Energy technology firm Energy Vault, headquartered in Switzerland, was approved for a loan of $150,000 to $300,000. Energy Vault raised $110 million in August 2019 from SoftBank.

CloudMinds Technology Inc., a cloud-based systems for robots with the bulk of its workforce and revenue in China, was listed for a loan of $1-2 million. It raised $186 million in May 2019 in a round that included SoftBank, although SoftBank does not have a seat on the company board.

The Chinese company was added to a U.S. trade blacklist this year and has slashed its workforce globally, including in the U.S., Reuters previously reported. It’s not clear whether companies on the blacklist are also eligible for the stimulus aid.

The funding data for the companies came mainly from data firm PitchBook.

A person close to SoftBank Vision Fund said the fund had recommended that its portfolio companies with strong cash positions or the ability to raise private capital not take government loans. The Vision Fund has investments in 91 companies.

Getaround said its business was “drastically impacted” by the virus lockdowns and the loan “helped reduce the otherwise severe impact on the health of our organization.” None of the other companies responded to requests for comment.

The Paycheck Protection Program, well over $500 billion in size, was meant to shore up employment by providing low-interest loans to companies who have 500 or fewer employees and would certify that they needed the cash to cover basic needs such as salaries and rent.

When the program was announced, venture investors were split on whether the startups they backed should apply.

Reuters

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.