The Vision Fund is in trouble, but SoftBank is holding its own
The fund initiated by Masayosi Son is also in the grip of the crisis, which is affecting many startups at the moment.
It’s a heartbreaking number: SoftBank’s Vision Fund latest quarterly results report losses equivalent to nearly $9.5 billionfor the period from July to the end of September 2022. The parent company, despite everything, continues to grow by generating profit on the same range. This is also the first time since last year and this is perhaps what allowed Contentsquare to raise a series F to the tune of 400 million this summer, supported by the Japanese fund alongside Sixth Street Partners (Emplifi, Amplience, Bloomreach).
If the period is not looking good for the Vision Fund, it may be also because its founder decided to distance himself from the organization. Masayosi Son prefers to devote more of his time to ARM now. The foundry has been behind Mac chips for two years now, so Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod, himself recently joined the board. A shock team is therefore in charge of the manufacturer’s future projects, which only bodes well for our smartphones and our computers.
A high-flying portfolio
Among SoftBank's bets with the Vision Fund, there are nevertheless real nuggets such as Revolut. The neobank is available in France and offers one of the best experiences both for managing daily purchases and for saving. It can indeed be used as a payment solution for professionals and, as an individual, set aside with “safes”. Cryptocurrencies are also on the menu with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple on the menu.
Another colt of the Vision Fund: Klarna. With this tool, customers can pay in installments free of charge at many online merchants such as Lacoste, Calvin Klein or even Clarks and Champion. Since its inception, the unicorn has raised $4.5 billion, notably from Artic Ventures and Mindrock Capital.
But SoftBank has also bet on WeWork, a New York co-working giant previously run by Adam Neumann. However, its former CEO and creator, who had been able to win Son's trust until 2020 to carry out the most important financing round ever seen, spent lavishly to the point of being thanked by his associates. For SoftBank, this will be the start of a historic tumble. A series broadcast on Apple TV+ even recounts the debacle…