The global early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group, SoftBank Ventures Asia, is all set to make its first investment in India.
Founded in 2000 by the Masayoshi Son-led Japanese conglomerate, the fund invests in “startups with a strong potential in Asia, the US, Israel, and the EU, focusing on AI, IoT, and smart robotics industry”.
The Seoul-based fund is now actively looking for early-stage startups in Asia, with India as a major focus, said a Mint report. Citing sources, the report said, SoftBank Ventures Asia is ready to invest USD 10-20 million in companies operating in the consumer internet space, with a special interest in healthcare, fintech and artificial intelligence.
Earlier this year, SoftBank Ventures Asia launched a new global fund worth USD 500 million, the biggest so far. Last year, the average size of similar funds raised last year was just over USD 100 million, according to a Reuters report.
SoftBank’s original strategy revolves around making large late-stage investments through its two-year-old USD 100 billion Vision Fund. With SoftBank Ventures Asia, the focus will be on early-stage investments including “Series B and beyond,” said the Mint report.
SoftBank Ventures Asia is not alone in its pursuit in India. Another South-Korean fund Korean Investment Partners (KIP), which had set up its office in the country in early 2019, is also scouting for Series B investments.
“We are expecting to invest in maybe five companies this year in India. We have set aside USD 30-40 million for India,” said Ping Wang, associate partner at KIP in an earlier interview with The Passage.
“Usually, when we go to a new country or territory, we start with series B, and once we understand more about the people, the culture, the economy, etc we go to series A, C and D,” he said. “Because for series B, the other investors have already done the fundamental due diligence on the entrepreneur and (by that time) the business already starts showing some numbers.”