I believe in India's future, will support with investments: Masayoshi Son

1 month ago

His firm SoftBank is the biggest foreign investor in India today and has funded 10% of all unicorns

Softbank Group | Paytm | Oyo

Peerzada Abrar  |  Bengaluru 

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son said that he believes in the future of India, which is going to be bright and he believes in the passion of the young entrepreneurs in the country.

“India will be great. There's a bright future. I tell young people in India let's make it (innovation) happen. I would support,” said Son at InFinity Forum organised by Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) and Bloomberg. “I believe in the future of India. I believe in the passion of young entrepreneurs in India.”

The discussion was about his vision as investor behind the $100 billion Vision Fund, the world's largest tech-focused investment fund, on creating a level playing field, and looking beyond the short term to develop the FinTech industry across the world, and harnessing it for global good.

Several years ago, Son said when Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came to Tokyo, he met him there. “I said ‘I believe in the future of India and I'd like to invest’. He met other big-shots in Japan and he didn’t know me (well) enough. But I gave him the biggest commitment that I would invest $5 billion in India,” said Son.

Now after 10 years, Son said SoftBank has already invested $14 billion in India. “We are the biggest foreign investor in India. This year alone, we invested $3 billion into India. We provide about 10 per cent of the funding of all of the unicorns in India,” said Son.

In India, SoftBank has backed many companies and unicorns or startups with over $1 billion in valuation. These include Paytm, Oyo, Ola, Lenskart, Policybazaar, FirstCry, Meesho, Unacademy, Zeta, Swiggy, Ola Electric and InMobi.

This July, food delivery firm Swiggy closed a $1.25-billion fundraise, marking the first investment in the category by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. This took the valuation of the Bengaluru-based startup up by more than 50 per cent to $5.5 billion from $3.6 billion earlier. In September this year, social e-commerce start-up Meesho raised $570 million, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and B Capital Group, a venture capital firm co-founded by Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Luiz Saverin and existing investors including SoftBank. In September this year, edtech startup Unacademy became a unicorn after it raised $150 million in a round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank valuing it at $1.45 billion, a three-fold jump in just six months.

“Some of those companies in which we have invested have created one million new jobs in India,” said Son. “When I first met Mr. Modi ( Prime Minister) this was zero.”

According to the sources, SoftBank could invest over $4 billion in India this year in the technology sector. These include edtech, healthtech, e-commerce, B2B marketplaces and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The investments will come from SoftBank's Vision Fund 2. It has an investment outlay of up to $30 billion for this year.

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