SoftBank could be about to make Deliveroo a unicorn with talks of investment from Apple and Saudi-backed Vision Fund

 
Lynsey Barber
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Deliveroo is expected to be valued at more than $1bn with fresh funding (Source: Getty)

One of the UK's star tech startups, Deliveroo, is on the verge of becoming a so-called unicorn, with SoftBank in talks over a potential investment.

SoftBank's Vision Fund, a huge new tech investment vehicle which has already backed several British tech companies, is in discussions to take a stake in the food delivery firm that would value it at more than $1bn.

The investment, first reported by Sky News, would be part of a series F round of funding following on from the $275m it raised last year. Existing backers of the startup include Accel Partners, Index Ventures, General Catalyst, Greenoaks Capital, Hoxton Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners.

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The fresh cash would help it compete against new and more well funded rivals - UberEats and Amazon Restaurants - and see it join the likes of billion pound-valued fintech firm Transferwise, online retailer Farfetch and flight website Skyscanner among others.

Softbank ploughed millions into UK "virtual simulation" startup Improbable in May, leading the $500m funding which also saw it achieve Unicorn status. The Vision Fund will also hold a stake in ARM, the UK tech firm Softbank acquired for £24bn in one of the most high profile deals of last year.

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The $93bn fund - the world's biggest - is based out of London and has high profile backers that include Apple, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Qualcomm, Foxconn and Sharp. SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son has said he wants to become "the Warren Buffett of tech". Other investments by the fund beyond the UK include a large stake in chipmaker Nvidia and backing of co-working space startup WeWork.

SoftBank has apparently been undeterred by recent drama surrounding Deliveroo which has been criticised over the way its drivers are treated amid a wider row over rights of workers in the so-called gig economy.

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