SoftBank rebrands venture arm with focus on Asia - Mobile World Live

SoftBank rebrands venture arm with focus on Asia

03 JAN 2019

SoftBank Group rebranded its early-stage investment arm as SoftBank Ventures Asia and announced it will focus on identifying artificial intelligence (AI) related start-ups with an emphasis on Asia.

The investment company, with more than $1.1 billion under management, has operating teams in Seoul, Beijing, San Francisco and Tel Aviv and is looking to expand by opening offices in Singapore and Shanghai.

In a statement JP Lee, CEO and managing partner of SoftBank Ventures Asia, said: “Our vision is to support promising young entrepreneurs by offering unparalleled access to SoftBank’s community, resources and network.”

The investment vehicle is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SoftBank Group established as SoftBank Ventures Korea in 2000. While initially focused on the Korean market, starting in 2011 it expanded to make investments in start-ups globally, the statement added. It has invested in more than 250 companies across 10 countries with a focus on AI, IoT, and robotics start-ups.

Investments include Tokopedia, a company in Indonesia focused on commerce, logistics, payments and financial services; Mythic, an AI chip company based in Silicon Valley; Hyperconnect, a provider of video communication service Azarm with more than 200 million downloads across 230 countries; and Snow China, an augmented reality camera app.

The company’s venture capital arm, SoftBank Vision Fund, was set up in 2016, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and originally targeting $100 billion in capital. It has since received cash from a number of high-profile investors including Qualcomm, Apple, Sharp and Foxconn, and raised more than $90 billion.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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