“We believe that the AI revolution is here”- Masayoshi Son, CEO Softbank
The Japanese investment firm- SoftBank, led by the biggest advocate of Artificial Intelligence tech- Masayoshi Son, announced the second round of its mega vision funding for secured pledges worth a whopping $108 Billion, participating in which are giants like Foxconn, Microsoft and Apple. The SoftBank Group holds an investment of $38 Billion in this.
The investment fund is purposed at facilitating the continuous acceleration of the AI revolution through bringing in more investment for tech-savvy market leading companies.
THE CONTROVERSIES AROUND SECOND ROUND FUNDING:
The key stakeholders of the Vision Fund-1 : Saudi Arabia’s PID Public Fund and UAE based Maubadala Investment Company are nowhere in the list of investors this time. Together, they’d pumped $60 Million in the Megafund 1. One of the reasons for it may be the flack that SoftBank received for it’s ties with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman of Saudi- implicated for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
VISION FUND 1:
The first Vision Fund, for the worth of $97 Billion, SoftBank had invested in high-profile growing companies, including India-based payments firm- PayTm, Grocery Delivery Startup- Grofers and Budget Lodging Startup- Oyo! With the second Vision Fund coming through, SoftBank is all set to become the most significant and influential global investor.
VISION FUND 2:
For SoftBank Vision Fund 2, the investors from Taiwan so far include Foxconn Technology Group, Microsoft Corp., Apple, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, SMBC Nikko Securities, Daiwa Securities Group and Standard Chartered Bank.
The Japanese conglomerate however says that there are still discussions going on to add more participants; and the total capital contribution anticipated to the fund is expected to increase further.
THE INCLINE TOWARDS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:
The incline of the second vision funding towards artificial intelligence doesn’t come as a surprise. With reports emerging last year about Masayoshi Son investing a considerable amount of time on AI, it is no surprise that AI is still the common thread in both vision funding 1 and 2.
Previous funds investment has proven instrumental in the growth of unicorn companies under the SoftBank Vision Fund.
Artificial Intelligence is automating multiple business operations, most importantly – improving business interactions. Chat bots,for example, are being used by businesses globally to improve customer engagement with their products. HippoBot by Katois one such quick and comprehensive tool.
And therefore it would be relevant to say that the AI Revolution is finally here!