After making big sized investments in the Indian startup ecosystem, Japan-based telecommunications giant SoftBank is now looking to focus on early-stage startups. It had launched the $500 Mn SoftBank Acceleration Fund in March to focus on this segment and is now scouting for startups in Asia with a major focus on the Indian ecosystem.
Citing anonymous sources, a Livemint report said that SoftBank Ventures Asia may invest $10 Mn – 20 Mn in the consumer internet space with a special focus on startups in healthcare, fintech and artificial intelligence segment.
SoftBank has launched the SoftBank Ventures Asia fund to bet in early-stage startups. This is in contrast to SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has been writing large checks to growth-stage or even late-stage ventures.
SoftBank’s Bet On Indian Startup Ecosystem
SoftBank has been bullish on the Indian startup ecosystem for a long time. The company had made several big ticket bets in India over the last few years.
With its $100 Bn Vision Fund, SoftBank has made way for several Indian startups to enter the unicorn club in the past few years. It has already deployed more than $10 Bn in Indian startups to date.
The SoftBank Vision Fund which was setup in 2017 and has made massive bets in the Indian startup ecosystem including Flipkart (which it exited after the Walmart deal), OYO, Ola, PolicyBazaar, and Grofers. In addition, it has invested in Uber and WeWork, both of which have major operations in India.
In March 2019, it invested $350 Mn in logistics startup Delhivery which reached unicorn status with that round. It has also committed $396 Mn to childcare retailer Firstcry. In 2018, it gave rise to two unicorns in the country with $238 Mn investment in PolicyBazaar and $1 Bn investment in hotel aggregator OYO.
SoftBank was also looking to make big ticket investments in Faasos, carpool marketplace Drivezy and healthtech company PharmEasy. The Vision Fund is also looking to invest around $2 Bn to $3 Bn in Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio.
Meanwhile, it is also being speculated that SoftBank is planning to launch an initial public offering for the SoftBank Vision Fund. According to reports, the tech giant is in talks with five to six banks about the potential listing, but no formal declaration has been made about it yet.