In recent times, India has seen a phenomenal increase in the number of startups being established. Our country is deemed to be the third largest startup setup in the world, with a favorable business climate, ensuring a higher success rate.
Keeping a startup running requires many factors. And funding largely remains a very important aspect. One man who has been the financial force behind myriad startups and businesses the world over, is Masayoshi Son, the founder, President, and CEO of SoftBank.
Masayoshi Son was born in 1957 in Tosu on Kyushu, Japan. He is a third-generation Zainichi Korean, that is Korean with a permanent residency or citizenship in Japan. At 16, on the advice of the then president of
Japan’s McDonalds Den Fujita, he moved to California.
Son, or ‘Masa’ as he is called, graduated from Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics in 1980 and started a video game company called Unison World in Oakland, CA. After selling this company to an associate for $2 million, making him a millionaire in his teens, the company was eventually acquired by Kyocera.
Today, with a net worth of around $21.1 billion, Masayoshi Son is the richest person in Japan.
In 1981, Masayoshi Son returned to Japan and found Nihon SoftBank, eventually named SoftBank. The term SoftBank comes from Bank of Software. His vision in establishing this fund was to finance startups with the potential for long-term success.
In the next decade, the venture was becoming a name of repute, bringing services from the USA to Japan.
SoftBank provides funds under Vision Funds which is the world’s largest technology focussed venture capital fund having more than $100 billion in the capital. Investors in Vision funds include Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn, the family office of billionaire Larry Ellison, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund.
The company has invested in a plethora of areas- finance, e-commerce, media and marketing, tech, broadband, telecom, internet, and many others.
Noteworthy Achievements by SoftBank
In 2000, SoftBank was one of the investors in Alibaba.com and this investment is still regarded as a high-impact investment by the company. In the next four years, it acquired 100% ownership of Japan Telecom Co Ltd.
SoftBank has also been a boon to the booming startup culture in India. Masayoshi himself favors investments in our country. Over the past decade, the company has invested as much as $14 billion, making it the largest foreign investor.
Some noteworthy Indian companies to have received funding from SoftBank include Paytm, Flipkart, Ola, Swiggy, Lenskart, and InMobi.