The SoftBank Vision Fund with Tim Culpan

The SoftBank Vision Fund with Tim Culpan
Tim Culpan from Bloomberg Gadfly discussed SoftBank's Vision Fund, the backers & key investments behind the fund and how it transforms startups globally.

Tim Culpan from Bloomberg joined us in a two part conversation on the high impact news from Asia’s movers and shakers. In the second part of our conversation, Tim covered Japan’s SoftBank US$100B Vision Fund and discussed the mission, vision and structure behind this massive fund that is poised to overshadow all the venture capital and private equity funds. We discussed the investments made by SoftBank Vision Fund so far and its implications to startup unicorns such as Uber and Flipkart. Last but not least, we explored the implications of the fund to the global startup ecosystem out there.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Tim Culpan (@tculpan, Linkedin, Bloomberg), Columnist at Bloomberg Gadfly [0:38]
  • SoftBank Vision Fund [0:38]
    • For a start, can you give a quick intro to SoftBank and the rationale behind Masayoshi Son’s gambit with the US$100B Vision Fund? [1:54]
    • What is the investment strategy behind the Vision Fund? [4:58]
    • Who are the investors behind the Vision Fund? [6:53]
    • SoftBank’s Vision Fund is a league of its own against the other funds out there (See attached screenshot below). How are they compared against the best US funds out there? [8:41]
    • Does that mean that SoftBank has the ability to make life miserable for the venture capitalists because they drive the valuations up? [11:00]
    • Which are the companies that are now invested by the Vision Fund? [15:35]
    • How big must your company be in order to be invested by SoftBank? [18:38]
    • Who are the key people who people need to get in touch for investments of such scale? [19:17]
    • SoftBank and Uber: If SoftBank close the deal with Uber, it means that it has now owned all 4 major players on ridesharing (Ola, Grab and Didi), does that mean that they might force an IPO on all 4 or massive consolidation across all? [20:47]
    • SoftBank and Flipkart/Snapdeal: SoftBank has now invested in Snapdeal’s competitor, Flipkart in India. What does that mean for everyone else out there? [24:46]
    • What’s the impact on the global startup ecosystem with such a massive scale? [27:33]
    • References: Tim Culpan “Son Flipped Snap in a Judo move“, “Son’s Expensive Revenge
  • Closing [28:45]
    • Can you recommend a book, movie, podcast or anything else that has made an impact to your work or personal life recently? [29:00]
    • How do my audience find you? [30:50]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Altizen and sign up for their mailing list. Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.