. 24/7 Space News .
Colossal SoftBank fund could shake up tech world
San Francisco (AFP) Nov 12, 2017

Japan-based SoftBank is sending tremors through the tech world with a massive new venture capital fund for investing in startups that's expected to dominate the industry so thoroughly it's playfully referred to as a "gorilla."

The Vision Fund's $100 billion coffers nearly equals the total amount pumped into venture capital-backed companies last year, according to market intelligence firm CB Insights, and some say it may be a game-changer for Silicon Valley.

"SoftBank shows a remarkable amount of bravery, confidence and optimism to look to apply this much money in technology," said Bill Maris, who started Google Ventures nearly a decade ago and runs his own California-based investment firm Section 32.

"I can't say it's a wrong bet, if you think the trends in tech will continue in the future. I would be much more worried if SoftBank was saying tech is dead."

Last year, VC-backed firms received $100.8 billion across 8,372 deals around the world, according to CB Insights data.

The huge amount of cash could accelerate the trend where fast-growing startups remain private -- without the scrutiny and transparency of a stock market debut.

Some investors worry that the Vision Fund will buy into startups at high prices, overinflating the market, while crowding out other investors and prolonging the time it takes for young companies to go public.

SoftBank has outlined plans to focus on late-stage investments when startups are more established, and on investments of at least $100 million.

- Matchmaking -

The SoftBank fund is widely expected to pump some $10 billion into ride-sharing giant Uber, which has a whopping valuation near $70 billion. Such a deal would boost the profile of the Japanese group in Silicon Valley.

Maris predicted the venture capital market would adapt to the Vision Fund, and in the end there would be more money available for entrepreneurs.

"I always think more dollars available to innovators and inventors is a good thing," Maris said.

"If it does shake up the market, maybe things do need to be shaken up a little bit."

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son has demonstrated a strategic appreciation for bringing together startups with the potential to benefit one another, according to analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.

Moorhead added that he was expecting either spectacular wins or failures from the Vision Fund, nothing in between.

"It is looking for mega-investments," he said.

- Consolidation goals -

SoftBank's early, lucrative, investment in Alibaba was part of a strategy focused on booming e-commerce in China, according to GGV Capital managing partner Hans Tung.

SoftBank's recent investments in ride-sharing firms in various countries fits a pattern of seeking money-making synergies by bringing competitors together to share technology, learnings and more.

"Masayoshi Son understands the value of consolidation," said Tung.

"It is affecting the way society moves from less efficient to more efficient, and the amount of innovation that could happen."

"If consolidation is somewhat expedited with SoftBank money, that is not necessarily a bad thing," Tung said.

He added the caveat that the kind of power that comes with such a large fund could be abused.

"If that money is used correctly, he should do well and do better for society," Tung said of Son.

"We don't need five ride-share companies battling each other."

For example, making industries, financial institutions, and health care more efficient with big investments might be welcomed.

Analyst Moorhead likened Son's style of investing to "matchmaking," targeting diverse companies that could help one another in the future.

Targets for the Vision Fund were expected to include e-commerce, ride-sharing, robotics and machine learning.

SoftBank has shown preference for technology trends with the potential to spread across borders and have significant impact on society, according to those who have tracked the company.

And with all the data collected by ride-sharing, e-commerce and other platforms, investing in artificial intelligence to mine insights from mountains of information makes sense.

"I don't see it impacting the entrepreneurs in the garage; those are typically smaller seed rounds," Moorhead said of the Vision Fund.

Since SoftBank has indicated it will make late-stage investments, its moves could become signals startups are planning to go public.

That strategy also leaves early funding of entrepreneurs to others, but could squeeze the profits of those investors when SoftBank negotiates from a position of strength to buy them out down the road.

"I admire the fact he is doing something visionary, I imagine that is why they call it the Vision Fund," Maris said.

"It is about investing in other people's dreams instead of squirreling the money away for yourself. Someone is making a really optimistic bet on the future."

Science has more impact when researchers travel, collaborate
Washington (UPI) Nov 9, 2017
If nations and their research institutions are to produce more impactful science, they need to encourage scientists to travel, collaborate and work across international borders - not restrict them. Concerned and curious about how new policies like Brexit and U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban might impact science, researchers have been taking a closer look at the relationship bet ... read more

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA Moves Up Critical Crew Safety Launch Abort Test

Brazil's tech junkies seek healing at digital detox clinic

NanoRacks launches Full External Cygnus Deployer on OA-8 to ISS

The road to Orion's launch

The state of commercial spaceports in 2017

Orbital ATK Successfully Tests First Motor Case for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

Orbital ATK launches eighth cargo mission to space

Vega launches Earth observation satellite for Morocco

How long can microorganisms live on Mars

NASA Opens $2 Million Third Phase of 3D-Printed Habitat Competition

Insight will carry over two million names to Mars

Opportunity Does a Wheelie and is Back on Solid Footing

China's reusable spacecraft to be launched in 2020

Space will see Communist loyalty: Chinese astronaut

China launches three satellites

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

Astronaut meets volcano

European Space Week starts in Estonia

New Chinese sat comms company awaits approval

Myanmar to launch own satellite system-2 in 2019: vice president

Plasma from lasers can shed light on cosmic rays, solar eruptions

Leonardo tapped by British Royal Air Force for radar testing equipment

A new way to mix oil and water

Building better silk

Astronomers See Moving Shadows Around Planet-Forming Star

Scientists find potential 'missing link' in chemistry that led to life on earth

18-Month Twinkle in a Forming Star Suggests a Very Young Planet

Overlooked Treasure: The First Evidence of Exoplanets

Jupiter's Stunning Southern Hemisphere

Watching Jupiter's multiple pulsating X-ray Aurora

Help Nickname New Horizons' Next Flyby Target

Juno Aces 8th Science Pass of Jupiter, Names New Project Manager

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.