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