SoftBank Capital

softbank capital

SoftBank Capital is a US-based multi-stage corporate venture capital investment company with a focus on entrepreneurial ventures known as market disruptors and are likely to endure.

SoftBank Capital provides venture funding as well as strategic support services to selected companies and caters to all stages of investment including seed, early-stage venture, late-stage venture and private equity. Around US$600 million is managed across three funds.

About SoftBank Capital

SoftBank Capital is a US-based multi-stage corporate venture capital investment company with a focus on entrepreneurial ventures known as market disruptors and are likely to endure. SoftBank Capital provides venture funding as well as strategic support services to selected companies and caters to all stages of investment including seed, early-stage venture, late-stage venture and private equity. Around US$600 million is managed across three funds.

With innovation at heart, SoftBank Capital predominantly backs companies in the industries of biotechnology, mobile telecommunications, and Software as a Service (SaaS). Since its launch, SoftBank has developed close ties with several industry leaders throughout Asia in the technology, mobile telecommunications and internet fields, and has partnered with Yahoo! Japan, Alibaba Group, Criteo, Zynga, Gilt Groupe, Salesforce.com, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Geocities, Microsoft, and E*Trade. 

Brief History

Headquartered in New York, United States, SoftBank Capital was founded in 1995 as the investment arm of SoftBank Corp, a Japanese multinational holding conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. SoftBank Capital was managed by four partners: Eric Hippeau, Ron Fisher, Michael Perlis and Steve Murray and soon achieved membership of the National Venture Capital Association. In 2011 one of the partners, Mike Perlis, left his role of general partner when he joined Forbes Media as CEO. In 2015 the company raised a substantial growth fund for eminent technology and large-scale e-commerce companies MediaTek and Alibaba. In 2015 SoftBank Capital was closed by SoftBank. The goal was to stop actively searching out new investments but to continue overseeing its existing portfolio. In later years SoftBank continued to make investments through its Vision Fund initiative. 

Significant Investments

In 2013 SoftBank Capital raised US$250 million in growth fund for companies including MediaTek and Alibaba. In March 2018 SoftBank’s Vision fund acquired a third of American billionaire businessman Travis Kalanick’s stake in international driving platform Uber for US$1.4 billion. Other major investments made by SoftBank’s Vision Fund are:

  • A US$450 million investment into the real estate technology company Compass
  • The acquisition of a 20% equity in GM Cruise for US$2.25 billion made over two payments
  • A US$353 million investment in DoorDash, a food delivery company
  • A 45% stake in Wag, a dog walking service
  • Funding of US$865 million for Katerra, a construction company
  • An additional investment of US$9.3 billion in Uber, which made SoftBank Uber’s largest shareholder

SoftBank Capital in the News

In July 2018 it was reported that SoftBank’s Vision Fund will set up a US$250 million startup fund and that managing partner of SoftBank Kabir Misra would step down from his role as soon as the fund is closed. He will, however, continue on in an advisory capacity. Bloomberg announced that SoftBank and DiDi Chuxing are about to launch a ride-hailing app – something that has thus far not been common in Japan. In Forbes, it was reported that SoftBank would be leading a US$121 million investment in Light, a startup that develops self-driving cars, robots, and drones. In Fortune Magazine SoftBank’s aggressive investment strategy was discussed. It was concluded that the company’s offers are so attractive because bigger investments significantly increase the likelihood of success. SoftBank has a minimum investment of US$100 million. 

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