SoftBank inches toward final close of $100bn Vision Fund

The firm will invest in tech companies focusing on robotics and the internet of things, and could also back healthcare and life sciences.

The $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest tech fund, is preparing for a final close, SoftBank Group Corporation chairman Masayoshi Son said in a company earnings call on Wednesday.

“We are making quite good progress and we are now very much in the last phase of the Softbank Vision Fund closure,” Son said, although declined to add further details about the fundraising.

Media reports, however, suggest that SoftBank reached its $100 billion fundraising target last month. Private Equity International could not confirm the reports and SoftBank could not be reached for comment by press time.

The fund, which was launched in October last year, will be invested in tech companies globally. 

It is largely backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and SoftBank. PIF will invest up to $45 billion while SoftBank will contribute $25 billion. The Tokyo-based internet and telco giant has reportedly lined up $10 billion to $15 billion in financing from Japanese banks to partly finance their share of the fund.

In addition, Apple confirmed last month a $1 billion investment in the Vision Fund, while US tech company Qualcomm, Taiwanese chipmaker Foxconn, and the family office of Oracle founder Larry Ellison have also made commitments to the fund.

Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala has also reportedly invested $10 billion.

The team investing the capital will be London-based and has a five-year deadline to invest its $100 billion. On the type of deals, Son said that the main target of the fund will be cutting edge tech companies focusing on artificial intelligence and robotics as well as the “internet of things”

He added the firm could also invest in healthcare and life sciences, “sectors that are far from SoftBank’s core business”.

Son also highlighted that tech giants Google, Uber and Airbnb have redefined the search, car service market and hotel industries, and have laid the foundation for the Vision Fund.