Investments

SoftBank Ventures Asia Notches $270M To Fund Startups

SoftBank

The Seoul venture capital division of Japanese multinational holding company SoftBank has raised $270 million, or 317 billion won.

The new fund of SoftBank Ventures Asia will invest globally in early-stage startups, with Asia being the cornerstone, Reuters reported Friday (July 19). Investors include South Korea’s National Pension Service.

SoftBank Ventures Asia indicated the new fund will close in the next six months.

Although the company’s Saudi-backed $100 billion Vision Fund dominates funding for late-stage startups, the group launched a $5 billion Latin American-focused fund in March with $1 billion earmarked for the delivery app Rappi.

Established in 2000, SoftBank has made a number of notable investments worldwide, including $1 billion in Germany’s Wirecard, $2.5 billion in U.S. self-driving company Cruise, $20 million in Mexico’s FinTech startup Clip and $1.1 billion in Indonesian e-commerce firm Tokopedia.

The company has also privately invested $10 billion in The We Company, formally known as WeWork, including $2 billion this year. SoftBank’s Vision Fund also led the $4.5 billion funding round in Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing startup. Grab said SoftBank’s Vision Fund accounted for a third of the investment.

SoftBank recently hired Cantor Fitzgerald to put its Vision Fund in front of bigger institutional investors. It is also reportedly mulling an initial public offering (IPO).

SoftBank was originally founded in 1981 to publish computer and technology magazines, among other endeavors. The company eventually went into internet technology and offerings — it helped build Yahoo Japan, for instance — and went public in 1994, becoming a holding company in 1999. A $20 million investment in China-based Alibaba followed at the turn of the century and was reportedly worth about $60 billion when Alibaba went public in 2014.

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