Thursday 5 August 2021 11:38 am

SoftBank injects $100m into former partner's new consumer tech fund

SoftBank Vision Fund II plans to invest $100m in a new consumer tech fund launched by one of its former managing partners Jeff Housenbold, the latest in a string of tech investments in the past few weeks.

SoftBank’s second Vision Fund’s $100m investment will form up to a fifth of the $500m to $600m that Housenbold’s new fund – named Honor Ventures – is seeking to raise, the Financial Times first reported.

Housenbold was one of the Vision Fund’s top partners and led its some of its largest US bets on unicorns including $58bn food delivery startup DoorDash and $8bn property tech company OpenDoor.

His new fund launch comes swiftly after his exit from SoftBank last month, and alongside his ongoing advisor role to chief executive Masayoshi Son and Vision Fund chief Rajeev Misra.

As part of his new fund deal strategy, which will focus on consumer tech startups, Housenbold intends to place the onus on providing counsel to founders, rather than follow an emerging pattern amongst some funds of providing capital and then staying hands-off as a company grows.

It comes as SoftBank’s second vision fund has pushed the pedal on its investments in recent weeks, injecting a total of around $13bn into at least 50 companies in the second quarter of the year – some of whom are yet to be named.

SoftBank-backed Flipkart bagged a $37bn valuation last month, after rallying $3.6bn in a pre-initial public offering (IPO) fundraiser, which was co-led by the Vision Fund II and Walmart.

Also in July, investment platform Clearco raised $215m in its latest funding round from SoftBank’s prolific second vision fund.

SoftBank’s dealmaking frenzy is part of a wider trend seen in the first half of the year as economies emerge from the pandemic.

Global venture capital investment is on track for an all-time record by the end of the year, after more than €264bn was invested worldwide in the first half, according to Dealroom data. This was more than double the €114bn invested in the same period in 2020.