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SoftBank’s Vision Fund Posts $1.7B Loss

Illustration of liquid draining from paper money.

SoftBank Group’s once-heralded Vision Fund unit posted a $1.7 billion loss for the most recent quarter ended in September, in part due to the writing down of its stake in now-bankrupt WeWork.

The loss comes after the investing giant posted its first gain in six quarters in August.

Softbank Group as a whole poised a loss of about $6.2 billion.

Shifting strategies

About four months ago, an emotional Masayoshi Son told investors that SoftBank, the multinational investment holding behemoth he leads, would again shift from “defense mode” as it looks to be a leader in AI and robotics.

While SoftBank has seemingly made a shift to “offense mode,” its famed Vision Fund — known for its investment in startups including Uber and DoorDashhas been relatively quiet.

Late last month it was reported SoftBank itself was looking at leading a $75 million to $100 million round for Norway-based robotics startup 1X Technologies at a $375 million pre-investment valuation.

Before that, the Financial Times reported SoftBank is considering investing in ChatGPT creator OpenAI or one of its competitors.

Also in September, Bloomberg reported SoftBank Group is backing Pittsburgh-based autonomous trucking startup Stack AV with more than $1 billion.

SoftBank and its affiliates also recently led a $280 million funding round for San Francisco-based location-mapping startup Mapbox, which is incorporating AI to push automated driving and safety.

There have been reports Masayoshi Son — armed with cash from U.K. chip designer Arm Holdiings’ IPO — has moved to a different investment project from the Vision Fund codenamed “Project R,” which is looking for deals in warehouse automation, AI and robotics companies.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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