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SoftBank Vision Funds Post Gain For First Time in Six Quarters

SoftBank’s Vision Fund unit — known for its investment in startups including Uber, WeWork and DoorDash — posted its first gain in six quarters as the tech investing giant started to look for deals again.

The investment arm — which includes SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1, Vision Fund 2 and its LatAm Funds — recorded a gain of about $1.1 billion, after reporting losses of $32 billion for its recent fiscal year ended in March. 

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Softbank’s Vision Fund II also made investments of about $1.6 billion in the recent quarter ended June 30. For the quarter ended in March, total investments were less than $500 million.

The slight uptick was not enough to help Softbank’s overall earnings, as the Japanese firm reported a net loss of about $3.3 billion for the quarter.

Investing again

In June, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told investors that the firm would shift from “defense mode” and aims to be the leader in the AI revolution. “Now, the time has come to shift to offense mode,” Son said.

Son, who spoke emotionally during the shareholders meeting, said the recent advances in artificial intelligence has rekindled his desire for investing in technology — and in particular referenced conversing with generative AI language processing platform ChatGPT to discuss his ideas and thoughts.

Softbank did seem to make good on that promise of looking more into AI last quarter. Its Vision Fund led a $65 million Series E for London-based Tractable, a software company that develops artificial intelligence for accident and disaster recovery. 

It also took part in a $790 million Series B for London-based Infogrid, an AI technology company that automates building management.

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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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