SoftBank’s second act – TechCrunch

Howdy and welcome again to Startups Weekly, a weekend e-newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and enterprise capital information. Earlier than I leap into right this moment’s subject, let’s catch up a bit. Final week, I famous some challenges plaguing psychological well being tech startups. Earlier than that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters.

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Anyway, onto the topic on everybody’s thoughts this week: SoftBank’s second Imaginative and prescient Fund.

Properly into the night on Thursday, SoftBank introduced a goal of $108 billion for the Imaginative and prescient Fund 2. Sure, you learn that accurately, $108 billion. SoftBank certainly plans to boost much more capital for its sophomore automobile than it did for the record-breaking debut imaginative and prescient fund of $98 billion, which was majority-backed by the federal government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, in addition to Apple, Foxconn and several other different restricted companions.

Its upcoming fund, to which SoftBank itself has dedicated $38 billion, has attracted funding from the Nationwide Funding Company of Nationwide Financial institution of Kazakhstan, Apple, Foxconn, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and extra. Microsoft, a brand new LP for SoftBank, reportedly hopped on board with the Japanese telecom large as a part of a grand scheme to persuade the huge fund’s portfolio firms to transition to Microsoft Azure, the corporate’s cloud platform that competes with Amazon Net Companies . Right here’s extra on that and a few evaluation from TechCrunch editor Jonathan Shieber.

Information of the second Imaginative and prescient Fund comes as considerably of a shock. We’d heard SoftBank was having some hassle touchdown commitments for the trouble. Why? Properly, as a result of SoftBank’s investments have included a wide-range of upstarts, together with some unsure bets. Brandless, an organization into which SoftBank injected some huge cash, has struggled in current months, for instance. Wag is claimed to be going downhill quick. And WeWork, backed with billions from SoftBank, nonetheless has so much to show.

Right here’s all the pieces else we learn about The Imaginative and prescient Fund 2:

  • It’s targeted on the “AI revolution by funding in market-leading, tech-enabled progress firms.”
  • The complete checklist of buyers additionally contains seven Japanese monetary establishments: Mizuho Financial institution, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Company, MUFG Financial institution, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance coverage Firm, Sumitomo Mitsui Belief Financial institution, SMBC Nikko Securities and Daiwa Securities Group. Additionally, worldwide banking providers supplier Commonplace Chartered Financial institution, in addition to “main individuals from Taiwan.”
  • The $108 billion determine is predicated on memoranda of understandings (MOUs), or agreements for future funding from the aforementioned entities. Which means SoftBank hasn’t but collected all this capital, except for the $38 billion it plans to take a position itself within the new Imaginative and prescient Fund.
  • Saudi and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds usually are not listed as buyers within the new fund.
  • SoftBank is anticipated to start deploying capital fund from Fund 2 instantly, and a primary shut is anticipated in two months, per The Monetary Instances.
  • We’ll preserve you up to date on the Imaginative and prescient Fund 2’s investments, fundraising efforts and extra as we study them.

On to different information…

iHeartMedia And WeWork's "Work Radio" Launch Party

IPO Nook

WeWork is planning a September itemizing

The corporate made headlines once more this week after phrase slipped it was accelerating its IPO plans and focusing on a September itemizing. We don’t know a lot about its IPO plans but as we’re nonetheless ready on the co-working enterprise to unveil its S-1 submitting. Whether or not WeWork can match or exceed its present personal market valuation of $47 billion is unlikely. I anticipate it should pull an Uber and battle, for fairly a while, to earn a market cap bigger than what VCs imagined it was value months earlier.

Robinhood had a wild week

The patron monetary app made headlines twice this week. The primary time as a result of it raised a whopping $323 million at a $7.6 billion valuation. That could be a complete lot of cash for a enterprise that simply raised a equally sized monster spherical one 12 months in the past. The truth is, it left us questioning, why the hell is Robinhood value $7.6 billion? Then, in a serious safety fake pas, the corporate revealed it has been storing consumer passwords in plaintext. So, go change your Robinhood password and don’t belief any enterprise to worth your safety. Sigh.

One other day, one other big fintech spherical

Whereas we’re on the topic on fintech, TechCrunch editor Danny Crichton famous this week the rise of mega-rounds within the fintech house. This week, it was customized banking app MoneyLion, which raised $100 million at a close to unicorn valuation. Final week, it was N26, which raised one other $170 million on prime of its $300 million spherical earlier this 12 months. Brex raised one other $100 million final month on prime of its $125 million Sequence C from late final 12 months. In the meantime, firms like funds platform Stripe, financial savings and funding platform Raisin, traveler lender Uplift, mortgage backers Mix and Higher and financial savings depositor Acorns have additionally raised large new rounds this 12 months. Naturally, VC funding in fintech is poised to succeed in file ranges this 12 months, in line with PitchBook.

Uber’s altering board

Arianna Huffington, the CEO of Thrive World, stepped down from Uber’s board of administrators this week, a crew she had been aside of since 2016. She addressed the information in a tweet, explaining that there have been no disagreements between her and the corporate, quite, she was busy and had different issues to deal with. Truthful. Benchmark’s Matt Cohler additionally stepped down from the board this week, which leads us to consider the ride-hailing large’s advisors are in a interval of transition. When you bear in mind, Uber’s first worker and longtime board member Ryan Graves stepped down from the board in Might, simply after the corporate’s IPO. 

Startup Capital

Unity, now valued at $6B, elevating as much as $525M
Fowl is elevating a Sequoia-led Sequence D at $2.5B valuation
SMB payroll startup Gusto raises $200M Sequence D
Elon Musk’s Boring Firm snags $120M
a16z values tenting enterprise HipCamp at $127M
An inside take a look at the startup behind Ashton Kutcher’s bizarre tweets
Dataplor raises $2M to digitize small companies in Latin America

Further Crunch

Whereas we’re with reference to superb TechCrunch #content material, it’s in all probability time for a reminder for all of you to join Further Crunch. For a low value, you possibly can be taught extra in regards to the startups and enterprise capital ecosystem by unique deep dives, Q&As, newsletters, sources and suggestions and elementary startup how-to guides. Listed here are a few of my present favourite EC posts:

  1. What sorts of startups are essentially the most worthwhile?
  2. The roles instruments play in worker engagement
  3. What to observe for in a VC time period sheet


When you take pleasure in this text, make sure to try TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Fairness. On this week’s episode, accessible right here, Fairness co-host Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch editor Danny Crichton and I unpack Robinhood’s valuation and argue about scooter startups. Fairness drops each Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast and Spotify.

That’s all, people.

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