SoftBank Founder Masayoshi Son (Credit: Nobuyuki Hayashi/Flickr)
Japan’s SoftBank Group announced on Friday that it had secured pledges of about $108 billion from investors that include Apple, Foxconn and Microsoft for a second technology megafund that it calls Vision Fund 2.
The Japanese tech conglomerate said its objective for the fund is to “facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies.”
SoftBank said that it plans to contribute $38 billion of capital into the new fund, according to its statement. The fund has also attracted commitments from a range of different investors that includes Standard Chartered Bank, the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan and several Japanese financial institutions. The sovereign-wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, one of the largest contributors to the first Vision Fund, was not on the list of investors for the second fund.
Masayoshi Son is the billionaire founder of SoftBank. He was an early investor in Yahoo and Alibaba and has since used SoftBank to bet on a variety of tech and telecom companies. He currently has a net worth of $24.5 billion, which places at No. 37 on the Forbes’ real time rankings of the world’s billionaires.
Vision Fund 1, which closed its the first major round of investment in May 2017, has been pouring money into startups from the fintech, transportation, real estate and e-commerce sectors. Uber, Didi Chuxing, Flipkart and WeWork, which is going public this September, are just a few of the recipients of the fund’s capital.
Son’s strategy of focusing on tech startups has so far yielded a 62% return for SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1 after investing a total of $64.2 billion in 71 companies, although his appetite for risk has some investors concerned. SoftBank has already used up the majority of its capital in the first fund. Son said that he has no plan for slowing down. He expects to raise new funds every two to three years.