Softbank vision fund

PJ101's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 29

Hi guys, I've searched the forum but didn't find any particular information regarding the hiring process of the vision fund. Do they use recruiters or referrals? Has anyone gone through their interview process? What are they looking for at Associate/VP level? What is the culture like? How rigorous is their due diligence process given it seems that decisions are made solely by Masa. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Comments (21)

Feb 2, 2019

PJ101, shame nobody has responded. Maybe one of these topics will help:

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  • SoftBank to acquire Fortress Investment Group for $3.3bn professionals at Fortress will be working closely with SoftBank to make its Vision Fund a success. The fund is ... of a second and third fund to follow the Vision Fund. The fund has already won backing from Saudi ... to investment professionals and laying the infrastructure for the Vision Fund. "The risk factor ...
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  • Real Estate Technology Bubble? estate technology companies funded by SoftBank's Vision Fund. Recent funding rounds include WeWork, ...
  • Musk's funding secured fund was partial joke "The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday alleged that Elon Musk chose a $420 price for possibly taking Tesla private because it is a marijuana culture reference that would "amuse" his girlfriend." LOL musk to Saturday, Septe ...
  • I'm a hedge fund recruiter. AMA! services. I focus on the fundamental, bottom up investing space of the hedge fund community, however we ... fund space and I felt it'd be interesting to field some questions and hopefully be helpful to ... investments teams and try to avoid trading too often. I do some work with mid market PE funds, special sits ...
  • More suggestions...

You're welcome.

Feb 5, 2019

Anyone?

Feb 11, 2019

The easiest way is to know someone from higher up the parent company in Japan that has influence.

Jun 21, 2019

Push. I am also eager to know.

Their first fund is a huge success. They are going to expand and might raise a second fund.

I am based in Asia and already see that they are recruiting widely. I have seen a number of people newly jointed their team.

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Jun 24, 2019

Is it? MOIC?

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Jun 27, 2019
dogdog:

Their first fund is a huge success. They are going to expand and might raise a second fund.

Huge success? Thanks for the laugh.

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Funniest
Jun 24, 2019

Will be one of the greatest blow ups of all time. Lever up on paper gains from fraudulent Ali Baba to invest in multiple Ponzi scheme money burning companies globally.

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Jun 26, 2019

We have been outbid twice now by the guys and there is now the usual Softbank question in IC when we bid for tech businesses: Should we even bother when they are looking as well? They always pay more with less (sometimes hardly any real) DD, hard to beat that.

From what I have seen from advisors and peers at other PE firms, they are generally regarded as "dumb money", but that might just be a result of losing against SB all the time when you go head to head with them.

I am curious to see how this all will turn out but atm it is hard to win when they bid. Prices they paid were beyond anywhere we could stretch to.

Also, think they are doing some dodgy stuff moving assets arounds which has gotten the attention of some of their investors. On the other hand, if they manage to raise another fund like this, that speaks for itself.

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Jun 24, 2019

Their logic doesn't compute and I have no doubt they will implode. I've heard the same from multiple people I know there as well as those that have bid against them. This whole thing about being "valuation agnostic" is honestly the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life.

Jun 26, 2019

Ha I just laughed out loud - "valuation agnostic"? Is that a real thing?

Jun 26, 2019

I wouldn't say it's dumb, it makes sense in VC and some PE today. It's dumb if you make money through multiple arbitrages or cost-cutting with some growth initiatives in a larger company buyout. However, in VC it often makes sense because there aren't that many good ideas, most software companies that are aggregators/platforms are winner-take-most and due to some accumulative advantage and better ability to fundraise they will likely beat out the "cheaper", less-funded company that the "valuation smart" VC/growth investor focuses on. Their investments generally seem pretty dumb, but often as they are the last money-in as long as the company hasn't IPO'd yet (most of their investments), if there is a recession in the next few years, they'll end up owning a significant chunk of pretty solid businesses due to nature of liquidation prefs. Many of those companies are not going to blow up because of a recession. The questionable investments they put money in is food delivery (TaaS theme) and WeWork. However, I'd give them both the benefit of the doubt before saying they are stupid. DoorDash is absolutely crushing it, GrubHub is so salty about how much market share they are stealing that the CFO (I think, might've been a different executive) threw shade at how credit card data providers like Second Measure don't show the whole picture (lol do most people use debit cards on GrubHub). I also don't know if they are unprofitable on a unit economics basis like many people suggest. Most of the delivery companies changed their fee model recently and it seems to have gotten more expensive. However, you'd be surprised how high the WTP is for these businesses, otherwise, the industry wouldn't be growing at a double-digit clip right.

I know all of the WeWork jokes (e.g. community adj. ebitda), however, there is a very real world where the next generation of start-ups hire people globally and just pay people to show up to a WeWork office to work remotely. It's a pretty big theme in the start-up community right now and something some of the bigger guys like Stripe are championing. Now, I'm not saying I completely agree, but there's usually more to the picture. In Japan, where Softbank is based, this sort of arrangement is pretty popular due to the structural dual labor market in that and other Asian countries (Taiwan, SK). There are a LOT of NEETs and temp workers in Japan.

There's also another trend of a lot of banking/PE types doing growth, more than before. Traditional finance training will tell you to be very cognizant of price when doing a deal, but that's because growth in most finance textbook examples caps out at 10-15%. It's harder to be price-conscious when something is growing at 40%+ YoY even as a multi-billion dollar company.

History could very well prove me wrong. At the same time, I rarely see thoughtful coverage of the tech industry. Most mainstream newspapers get Softbank/Tiger Global wrong entirely. The Softbank-short pitch is that they use leverage to make high-growth investments. That's questionable for obvious reasons. Josh Wolfe of Lux Capital (VC firm) is a big Softbank short and he thinks it'll implode but his arguments center around leverage, not their investment strategy.

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Jun 26, 2019

They will fail. Some of the stupidest investors I've ever seen.

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Jun 27, 2019

I've interacted with a few of them in the past. On a personal level, I like them as individuals - interesting group. Their investment teams are an amalgamation of junior/mid-level individuals who come from blue chip PE/VC/IB background (recent hires are def. less blue chip than before) combined with senior individuals who never invested in their life. One mid-level person told me every time they made the pitch to hire a senior PE / Growth Equity guy from another shop, it never worked out as he said " we couldn't come to terms on buying out carry". You just raised a raised a $100B fund and you can't buy out a few partners' carry? The answer seemed dubious at best.

While I agree with some of their investments (at least the ones I tried to understand), I've heard they are consistently overpaying for deals (confirmed by multiple VCs and growth equity shops). The majority of their investments are burning a shit ton of cash. If SoftBank can't raise Vision Fund II, who's going to bail out these companies? Also who raises Fund II with less than 10% of realizations on levered up risky investments? Fantasy world.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

Jun 27, 2019

No +/- opinion on them, but something to think about when it comes to valuations, is that it doesn't matter when you consistently get into the best deals and your exits are in the $B+ consistently. They overpay and that puts a lot of pressure for traditional VCs to get more ownership early and deploy more capital. It hurts fund economics and makes traditional funds more conservative with capital deployment.

They've changed the game for a lot of folks, but I don't know that they'll actually return their fund, $100B is a lot of cash. There are also reports of them not being able to fill out the second fund

Jun 24, 2019

You're incorrect in your first paragraph. That only applies at lower tier Series A/B typically.

Once you're investing at valuations in the billions the company doesn't have much room to grow and you're not getting a 100x like traditional VC...

...and that's why VC doesn't scale. MultiB VC funds just don't solve out properly on the irr side lol

Jun 27, 2019

I agree. I was specifically speaking about early stage, not growth. Obv softbank is huge, but I find it interesting that given the inability to garner returns as funds increase in size (think KP), they're still raising as much as they can instead of keeping it at a doable ~175-250 like USV. Fees get to ya I guess

Jul 4, 2019

Does anyone have any idea what culture / hours are like? Is the work more like VC or growth equity?

Jul 4, 2019
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