May 25, 2017
Earlier this week, the funding world changed forever as the world's largest private equity fund, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, announced it has raised over $93 billion to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.
The fund is backed by SoftBank and Saudi Arabia's Public uInvestment Fund (PIF), the new fund's investors include Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment, which has committed $15 billion, Apple, Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan's Sharp Corp.
“The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment,” the SoftBank Vision Fund said in a statement.
The fund is targeting a total of $100 billion USD of committed capital, with a final close within six months. And committing to a minimum of $100 million deal checks, the focus will be on both minority and majority deals with companies that are either private or public.
This is a unicorn fund if we’ve ever seen one, and the largest of its kind ever to deploy capital. Unfortunately, this fund will not be for everyone; it’s for companies doing big things with a lot of traction.
That said, to give you a sense of Softbank’s track record, some of their past recent investments in previous funds include WeWork, UberConference, Banjo, Housing.com, Didi (China’s Uber Competitor), and Sprint. So you might conclude similar types of companies being targeted for this new fund but with a twist towards, VR, AI and robotics.
Softbank’s funding will act as a unicorn builder for growing companies – let me share a few examples of this in action. When SoftBank invested $300M into WeWork, it increased their valuation from $2 billion to about $18 billion. Earlier this month SoftBank led a $502 million investment in a virtual reality startup, Improbable Worlds. This turned a $100M company into a unicorn overnight. Not to mention, last week SoftBank invested $1.4 billion into Paytm, India’s largest digital-payments startup. Again, this plumped Paytm’s value to $7 billion – further illustrating why this fund will be able to take a company looking to scale, add their capital and create what one would call a unicorn.
So rather than calling this fund the Vision Fund, the Unicorn Fund would be a more appropriate name…
Read about startups getting funded at Tech.Co
Photo: Flickr / Anders Sandberg
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