Masayoshi Son’s Vision Funds Suffer in 2022

Posted on 06/22/2023

SoftBank Group Corporation reported a loss of US$ 23 billion for FY 2022. Mr. Son says “significant cost reductions” are coming due to the business situation at Vision Fund. He says his Vision Fund has been “greatly reduced.” There are two Vision Funds, both sustaining losses in technology investments. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) put US$ 45 billion in Vision Fund, making up almost half of its US$ 100 billion total seed capital. The UAE’s Mubadala Investment Company provided US$ 15 billion.

SoftBank is also looking to add to its cash reserves by selling Fortress Investment Group to Mubadala. Layoffs to Vision Fund staff are expected, with the highest estimates indicating almost a third of staff may be let go. This is a drastic step in Japan, where historically employment was guaranteed for life. Times have changed, however, since Japanese are now signing up by the millions to be “spot workers” on their smartphones for as little as one shift.

Softbank notes: “SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) 1 and 2 seek to accelerate the AI revolution through investments in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies, particularly in private companies valued at over $1 billion at the time of investment, colloquially known as “unicorns.” Their global reach, unparalleled ecosystem and patient capital help founders build transformative businesses. SoftBank Latin America Funds (LatAm Funds) were launched in 2019, investing in companies harnessing the power of data and technology to redefine industries exclusively within rapidly developing Latin America.”

AI has been in the news lately, with some warning of doom, and others looking for ways to maximize it in various applications. Mr. Son has apparently been running ideas by ChatGPT, and hearing positive feedback from the program. He says: “We are heading for an AI revolution, and we will be the investment company for the AI revolution.”

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