SoftBank’s Kabir Misra in advanced talks to set up $250m startup fund

Kabir Misra, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. Photo: Livemint

Kabir Misra, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, is in advanced talks to set up an investment fund, which will make early- and mid-stage investments primarily in US, India and Southeast Asia-based startups, said three people close to the development.

The $200-250 million fund, which is yet to be closed, will count SoftBank Group as the anchor limited partner.

While SoftBank is likely to be on the advisory board of the new fund, it will look at sub-$20 million investments to avoid conflicts with the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Once the fund is closed, Misra will step down from his existing role at SoftBank, citing personal reasons, the people mentioned above said, requesting anonymity.

Misra, 49, who has been associated with SoftBank for more than a decade, will continue to work closely with the group. “He is essentially transitioning into a new role and will act as an adviser to SoftBank,” said the first person, requesting anonymity.

Misra is in talks with more investors to raise money for the fund and could bring one more limited partner on board, the second person said, also declining to be named.

Misra had played a key role in sealing the Flipkart-Walmart deal that was announced in May, and was integral to Flipkart’s last big fundraise from SoftBank Group, which had pumped in $1.4 billion into the e-commerce company in 2017.

The fundraising ensured that Flipkart could enter the negotiations with Walmart from a position of strength and eventually clinch a $21 billion valuation.

Besides being part of the Flipkart board, Misra also sits on the board of India’s largest payment firm Paytm, owned and operated by One97 Communications Ltd.

According to the three people mentioned above, Misra will continue to serve the boards of the companies.

When contacted, SoftBank declined to comment.

Japan-based SoftBank Group has been looking to hire an Indian head for some time now, but the search is still on. It has several executives other than Misra who can take care of its Indian investments, including Deep Nishar and Munish Varma.

In the last couple of years, the company, owned by billionaire Masayoshi Son, has been an aggressive investor in India.

It has pumped in over $4 billion with its biggest investments in Flipkart, Paytm, online insurance firm Policybazaar, ride hailing firm Ola, hotel aggregator Oyo and online grocery firm Grofers.

The investments in e-commerce firm Snapdeal and online real-estate firm Housing.com, however, did not work out well for the investor. Mint had reported in June that SoftBank has done about 24 deals in India committing $7 billion since 2011.

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This story was first published on livemint.com

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.