SoftBank Exec: ‘Mistakes Come Out First’ In Investing

SoftBank's Rajeev Misra is banking on future success.

SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra, head of the company’s $100 billion Vision Fund, is still banking on the success of the fund, confident investments and IPOs will surge within the next year.

His confidence has had numerous opportunities to be shaken in recent months.

For one, SoftBank was entangled in the botched initial public offering for WeWork last September. That ended up with SoftBank and VisionFund losing billions of dollars. Analysts and investors also questioned the firm’s once heralded investing strategies. Other connected portfolios, such as Wag, Oyo and robot pizzeria Zume, also failed.

Then Misra failed to raise more money for Vision Fund 2, which SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said would net the company $108 billion.

There were also accounts of workplace problems, which led to some employees exiting the firm — and Misra’s own reported badmouthing of fellow SoftBank top employees, among them an attempt to smear SoftBank president and current Palo Alto Network CEO Nikesh Arora with photos of him in a hotel room with a woman or multiple women.

All of it makes it easy to see why Misra, 58, feels like he’s got enemies on all sides.

But despite remaining silent until now, Misra said recently that he intends to right the wrongs on the company’s proverbial ship, saying he “needs time” to fix the errors. He said a smorgasbord of new IPOs and results of the company’s investments would end up changing the perception of SoftBank. He called the mistakes “normal.”

SoftBank has been known up until recently for pouring massive amounts of cash into startups, and did work to inflate valuations, encourage companies to think outside the box and act crazier than competitors and “annihilate their competitors.” Sometimes, the Vision Fund would invest in direct rivals, such as when it poured money into Uber and DoorDash, making both companies use their own cash to aggressively keep up with the other.

Misra’s confidence comes at a precarious time for global finance as the coronavirus throws the world’s economy into uncertain flux.



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