SoftBank: ‘Capital provider for the information revolution’

SoftBank has invested $80B+ into 264 startups. It still has $40B+ to burn.

June 24, 2021

Shoulda spent money on better PowerPoint slides (Source: YouTube)

Remember the WeWork debacle?

Well, the main investor behind that episode — Masayoshi Son and his firm SoftBank — have rebounded nicely.

SoftBank — which can be thought of as a tech holding company — is on a recent high after big wins including DoorDash and Coupang IPOs, per The Economist.

SoftBank has invested in 200+ tech firms…

… and could have another big score when ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) goes public. From pandemic lows, SoftBank’s stock price is up ~2x to $126B.

In total, SoftBank has invested ~$84B into startups since 2018 (and still has $40B+ in dry powder). There have been some bad apples, though:

  • Greensill Capital: A supply chain finance company that declared bankruptcy after questionable corporate lending.
  • Wirecard: A German payment processor that also went under following a massive accounting scandal.

During SoftBank’s annual general meeting…

… on Wednesday, Son made the argument that capital providers are as important as inventors.

He used the example of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who helped finance the industrial revolution in the 1800s. Son wants to do the same for the information revolution.

Per The Economist, here’s the investing approach he’ll take: “big bets based less on spreadsheets than on ‘feeling the force’ of a deal.”

That’s one way to be a capital provider.

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