SoftBank Vision Fund to open its first dedicated office in India

01, Dec. 2018

NEW DELHI, NNA - SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund will set up its first dedicated office in India as part of its strategy to tap opportunities in the country's information technology sector.

According to the major Japanese telecommunications company's subsidiary, SoftBank Investment Advisers, which operates the $93 billion Vision Fund, the office will be set up in Mumbai -- India's financial capital -- "to strengthen ties with the region's rapidly growing technology ecosystem."

"This will be the fund's first dedicated office in the country," SoftBank spokesperson Paroma Roy Chowdhury told NNA.

The fund operator, known as SBIA, said it has also appointed Sumer Juneja to lead the fund's India operations and help foster closer links between India's IT sector and the fund's global network of world-leading technology companies.

"Many Indian technology businesses are now expanding their horizons beyond India; with Vision Fund backing, OYO (a hotel-aggregator in India) has launched outlets in the U.K., Indonesia and the Middle East in the past three months alone," SBIA said in a statement.

Several companies in the Vision Fund's global portfolio, such as U.S.-based Katerra Inc. and Nvidia Corp., already have a presence in India, and the new office will further support the portfolio to expand their operations into the region.

"With 460 million internet users, India is the second largest online market globally and is now the fastest-growing ecommerce market in the world, which means it may hold huge potential for the Vision Fund's wider ecosystem," said the statement.

While still only 18 months since inception, SoftBank Vision Fund L.P. already has a strong track record of investment in Indian innovation, having invested a total of $5 billion in four of India's highest-valued technology companies -- OYO, digital payments provider Paytm, insurance comparison site PolicyBazaar and online retailer Flipkart.

"India represents an enormous addressable market comprising a young, tech-enabled population. I am excited by many of the opportunities we see there and look forward to announcing further investments in the coming months," Rajeev Misra, SBIA chief executive officer and SoftBank board director, said in a statement.

Commenting on the development, Arun Natarajan, founder of Venture Intelligence which tracks investment activities in India, said, "The move to set up a dedicated office in India signals the fund's long-term commitment to the Indian market encouraged by the fund's successfully exiting from Flipkart earlier this year."

SoftBank recently declared that in the April-June quarter this year, it saw an unrealized profit of 244.90 billion yen ($2.17 billion) from the Vision Fund, including 164.25 billion yen from selling its stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart to U.S. retailer Walmart.

According to SoftBank's annual report for last year, the fund closed its first major round of investment in May 2017 with over $93 billion of committed capital, and aims to make large-scale, long-term investments in companies and platform businesses that have the potential to spark the next generation of innovation. (NNA/Kyodo)