In what could be termed as music to India’s ears, the SoftBank Vision Fund has recently announced its first major close with over $93 billion of committed capital—a joint venture by SoftBank Group (SBG) and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Other InvestorsThe other investors in the fund include the Mudabala Investment Company of the UAE, Sharp Corporation, and firms such as Apple Inc., Foxconn Group, and Qualcomm Inc. The fund is aiming for a total of $100 billion of committed capital, with a final close in six months.Rajeev Misra, the Indian-born official is leading the Fund, which will be advised by wholly owned arms of SBG, collectively known as SB Investment Advisers. Misra will be the CEO of SB Investment Advisers and will also be a member of the Investment Committee. Besides these key positions, Misra will also handle all fund transactions, ably supported by a well experienced global team across offices in London, Tokyo, and San Carlos.
Advantage IndiaSoftBank had earlier announced that it would invest $10 billion in India. Despite SoftBank’s investees, e-commerce giant Snapdeal and real estate firm Housing.com had run into rough weather, SoftBank still eyes the Indian market. SoftBank, which has pumped in $900 million in Snapdeal is now wooing e-commerce market leader in India, Flipkart, which will give it the stake in the Tiger Global-backed platform.Positives What with the new Fund laying emphasis on two of the fastest growing sectors such as fintech and cloud technology, the $10 billion investment made by SoftBank will see exponential growth. What is more, fintech, besides digital payments and credit lending, have diversified into technological assistance for SMBs and kirana (grocery) stores, and is likely to branch out in multiple dimensions.Signal Hill and iSPIRT say that the Indian SaaS business is evolving from a horizontal to a vertical approach, thus increasing the lifetime value of the business. The time could not be better for attracting investment into start-ups in these sectors.OYO Rooms the hotel aggregator platform is said to have raised $250 million round led by SoftBank recently. SoftBank’s other big bet, digital payments platform Paytm, in one of the biggest funding rounds from an individual investor, raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank recently. SoftBank has also pumped in $55 million in property buying platform Proptiger.Grofers, the grocery delivery firm, another beneficiary of SofBank by availing an investment of $120 million last year had closed its services across nine cities two months later.Although Ola managed to raise $350 million from SoftBank recently, it is still struggling to catch up with its US-based competitor, Uber.As per the consolidated financial report for FY 2017, SoftBank has faced a combined loss of $1.4 billion in investments in Snapdeal and Ola. In February this year, SoftBank had written off $475 million from Snapdeal and Ola.SoftBank’s StrategiesAccording to the statement issued by the SoftBank Vision Fund, it will be SBG’s primary vehicle to realize its SoftBank2.0 vision, with preferred access to investments in excess of $100 billion. The SBG created the SoftBank Vision Fund as a result of its strongly held belief that the next stage of the Information Revolution is underway, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale long-term investment. Furthermore, the fund’s portfolio firms are likely to substantially benefit from SB’s global scale and operational expertise, as well as its ecosystem of group portfolio firms; this will thereby help them to accelerate their own growth profile, the statement added.