Investments

SoftBank Expected To Sink $1B Into LATAM Delivery App

SoftBank is set to make a $1 billion investment in Latin American delivery app Rappi.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the investment will probably be led by the newly formed Innovation Fund, which was launched by SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure for technology investments in Latin America. SoftBank’s Vision Fund is also expected to participate, with a deal announced as soon as this week. If it closes, it would be SoftBank’s largest investment in Latin America.

Founded in 2015, Colombian startup Rappi employs bike-riding couriers to deliver everything from grocery orders to diapers all around the region. Last month, it partnered with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi to offer healthcare services in Latin America. Rappi also expanded its delivery services into Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay last year.

The company was valued at more than $1 billion in its last fundraising round in September after it raised $220 million.

The news comes after a recent report that SoftBank is finally seeing a return on some of its investments. The $100 billion Vision Fund was launched in 2017, and has invested billions in companies, including Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab, U.S. shared office provider WeWork and ridesharing giant Uber.

The firm is now seeing some of those funds come back, including via the $23.5 billion listing of SoftBank’s mobile unit and Japan’s largest corporate bond sale to retail investors. There is also Uber’s highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) coming up. Richard Kaye, a portfolio manager at French asset manager Comgest, a SoftBank shareholder, said investors are gaining more confidence in the firm, noting that “this could be the beginning of a rather long reassessment by investors of SoftBank’s potential.”

While shares in SoftBank remain undervalued by 40 percent, that could change after Uber’s IPO. SoftBank, which owns a 16.3 percent stake in Uber via the Vision Fund, could find itself with a stake worth nearly $11 billion if the ridesharing giant hits its planned IPO valuation of $91.5 billion.

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