Friday 26 July 2019 10:26 am

Softbank launches new $108bn Vision Fund for AI investment

Softbank has unveiled its second mammoth Vision Fund, which it said will have $108bn (£87bn) to invest in AI-focused tech firms.

Read more: Softbank earns $11bn for selling some of its huge Alibaba stake

Softbank said it has received backing from a string of companies including Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and Standard Chartered, while the Japanese investment giant will itself pump $38bn into the fund.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which contributed almost half the cash – $45bn – for Softbank’s original fund, was not named as a backer.

However, Softbank said discussions are ongoing with additional potential backers, adding it expects the fund’s total value to increase.

Preparations for the Vision Fund 2 have been months in the making, with the Japanese firm reportedly looking to reduce its reliance on Saudi money following the backlash against the country over the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi last year.

Softbank burned through its first $100bn fund in just two years after making big bets on successful tech startups including Uber and Wework.

Chief executive Masayoshi Son has previously said his company plans to create a new fund similar in size every two to three years as it looks to cash in on fast-growing tech businesses.

Read more: Softbank struggles to raise cash for its second $100bn Vision Fund

A number of Japanese financial firms are also among investors in the new Vision Fund, as well as the national bank of Kazakhstan. 

Main image credit: Getty