Investments

SoftBank CEO Not Satisfied With Firm’s Growth

softbank, vision fund, valuations, investments, CEO Masayoshi Son, big tech

So far, the CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. isn't impressed with his accomplishments at his company.

“The results still have a long way to go, and that makes me embarrassed and impatient,” said Masayoshi Son in an interview, according to Bloomberg. “I used to envy the scale of the markets in the U.S. and China, but now you see red-hot growth companies coming out of small markets like in Southeast Asia. There is just no excuse for entrepreneurs in Japan, myself included.”

While Son has turned SoftBank into a global technology conglomerate through successful investments, including Alibaba Group Holding, two of SoftBank’s biggest investments — Uber and WeWork — have struggled this year. As a result, the Japanese billionaire’s track record has been tainted, and SoftBank's shares have fallen 31 percent since April.

“It only just began, and I feel there is tremendous potential there,” he said, adding that the goal is to invest in startups working to reshape the world via artificial intelligence.

In the meantime, Son must deal with SoftBank's biggest disappointments so far this year: Uber and WeWork. The ridesharing giant's share price has fallen 30 percent since it went public, which has led to investor concerns over the other companies in SoftBank’s ride-hailing portfolio. That includes China’s Didi Chuxing, India’s Ola and Singapore’s Grab. WeWork delayed its highly anticipated IPO after SoftBank — the company’s biggest investor — asked WeWork to shelve its plans, due to questions over how much the company is worth.

The two setbacks erased the gains of SoftBank’s record $5.5 billion buy-back eight months ago. However, though WeWork and Uber are struggling now, they will be substantially profitable in 10 years’ time, Son noted. Still, he has cautioned SoftBank portfolio company heads.

“Recently, I’ve been telling founders to ‘know your limit,’” Son said. “Knowing your limitations will help unleash limitless possibilities.”

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