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What’s SoftBank’s Vision Fund? Find Out Why It’s Successful Yet Highly Criticized

If there’s an industry that fundamentally depends on the faith of investors, it has got to be the tech world. Luckily for startups in the tech industry, there’s this one investor who’s ever willing and able to back them up.

Uber, WeWork, ByteDance ( the tech company that owns TikTok), Flipkart and numerous others have benefited from this one source of funds, and given their tremendous successes over time, why else would you need convincing that it pays to do business with this investor?

Not a Wealthy Individual

If you’re thinking that it’s one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, you couldn’t be more wrong. It just so happens that this generous investor is actually a fund, aptly named the Vision Fund by the SoftBank Group.

Currently, ByteDance leads the pack when it comes to the most valuable privately-owned tech startups around the globe, and it wasn’t that long ago when this same title rested with Uber. What does that tell you about the Vision Fund?

ByteDance is leading the pack in the tech world

Currently worth $100 billion, you see how the fund is able to pour money into multiple startups without breaking a sweat. And that big of an investment is always followed by handsome returns, why then would SoftBank put a stop to his rewarding cycle?

However, the Japanese conglomerate and its fund have been on the receiving end of multiple criticisms from those who deem their dealings in the tech world questionable. For starters, critics have an issue with the sustainability of flooding unending millions in the tech world, but that’s not even their biggest query.

It just so happens that the SoftBank Group’s major backers are the Saudis, particularly the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. In another world, this wouldn’t have been the cause of any concern, but the murder of Jamal Khashoggi cannot be swept under the rug.

The journalist had been close to the Saudi royal family for years before falling out with them for criticizing their policies. He left the country to the US on a self-imposed exile, and while State-side wrote a monthly column criticizing Prince Mohammed.

Kashoggi regularly criticized the Saudi Crown Prince

On October 2, 2018, the journalist was murdered while in Turkey. Investigations by a UN rapporteur came to the conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed was individually liable for Khashoggi’s death, along with other powerful state officials.

Legitimate Concerns

Given such findings, there are legitimate concerns why companies in the US should be in bed with a fund that’s backed by a government that is seen as having no respect for human rights, and fundamentally the right to life.

All the same, there’s no denying that startups that have been backed by the Vision Fund have grown to become forces to reckon with in the tech world. So, what does a company have to do to get those SoftBank funds?

Like Flipkart, your startup just has to be established and growing quickly

Well, it turns out that you don’t even have to do much. The company just has to be fairly established, and one that would accurately be described as fast-growing. Also, while planning your pitch, be ready to receive a lump sum of cash if they buy into your idea.

Going over the fund’s investment dealings, they rarely invest anything below $100 million, so have a well thought out plan on how you intend to spend these millions.

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