The End of Huge Funds In Sight As Japan's Mega Investor Softbank Repositions
The future for Japanese tech investor
Softbank looks cloudy as its controversial CEO
Masayoshi Son maps out a new future. With its second
Vision fund still in the distance,
Softbank's new strategy is to hone in on AI deals, excercise more caution about investing in more startups, rescue some struggling portfolio companies, and focus resources on only the most promising companies in this post-Covid era.
article quotes several in the inner circle at
and delves into several disappointing deals from its huge $100 billion Vision fund that invested in 88 emerging market leaders over the past three years, among them
. Not much mention is made of the investor's troubled Asian portfolio companies such as Indian hotel chain
and ride-hailing services
in China and
in India. But
and South Korean online retailer
are pinpointed as potential winners.
What has propped up debt-ridden
Softbank throughout boom and bust cycles? An early $20 million investment in
Alibaba that is now worth $200 million but is not a lasting fix.
Sony has made a $400 million strategic, equity investment in Chinese video streaming site
YouTube - plus of China with comics, animation and games.
Bilibili went public on Nasdaq in 2018.
Beijing-based e-payments innovator
Ksher has picked up $10 million in A round funding, led by
MindWorks Capital, following seed financing from
Sequoia Capital China.
Dsdaq raised $1.5 million in angel funding from
Draper Dragon and family investment office
Efftronics Asia, for its multi-trading asset platform.
Prominent US-China VC firm
$1.1 billion for a new well-positioned fund focused on early bets in healthcare and tech businesses. Despite tough challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical uncertainties,
closed its Fund VII on its initial target amount and timetable.
Quest Ventures has launched a $50 million fund, its first with outside investors, to focus on digital commerce investment mainly in Southeast Asia and China.
The Therapeutics Accelerator
, an initiative launched by the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
to speed up response to the COVID-19 epidemic, pulled in $25 million from the
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
and GBP 40 million from the UK government.
launched a new Covid-19 response fund to provide $20 million in grants to support public health initiatives. Silicon Valley-based biopharma research
has created a $20 million fund to support non-profit companies on the brink of closure.
China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in new patent applications, with 58,990 filings compared with 57,840 for the U.S.
China has been gaining on this measure for several years, as its entrepreneurial boom has kicked in over the past two decades.
Just days after accounting fraud was uncovered at China coffee chain
last week's issue
) two more U.S.-listed Chinese stocks have been hit. Chinese video streaming giant
of China, has been accused of inflating user numbers and revenues by activist research firm
, which is majority owned by
is refuting the claims, citing the research firm for
"numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements and misleading conclusions."
As scrutiny over Chinese stocks has increased, China's e-learning king
TAL Education has also admitted inflating sales though blamed it on one employee.
The Chinese government has managed the process of someone coming in from outside China to avoid further outbreaks in a Big Brother way. New entrants must endure many hours of screening and interviews at the airport before being allowed to come home, where they face 14 days of quarantine. Food is delivered to them, their temperature is closely monitored and a 24-hour remote sensor on their door makes sure they don't leave. After 14 days, an
Alibaba app on their smart phone tracks their location. The app can also track everyone, so alerts can be made. Risk ratings of green, yellow, red are assigned to each individual. Highly doubtful this would work in the US of A, but it's working in China.
, a flamboyant entrepreneur best known for the Smartisan smartphone brand, sold more than 110 million yuan ($15.5 million) of products in his first e-commerce livestream on
, the short-video app that is a cousin to
. The livestreaming e-commerce trend being pioneered in China could be a model for Western companies.
3D printing is back in vogue.
DCM Ventures portfolio company
Origin, which is in this 3D sector, is
partnering with Stanford University School of Medicine to rapidly develop and produce personal protective equipment and FDA-approved COVID-19 test kits.
Ask A VC Anything!
The VC Who Named Zoom & Invested Early
On Demand Recordings
Available for Registrants
Next: Ask A VC Anything!
The VC Who Shaped
China's Venture Market
& Propels US-Asian
Tech Startups Today
Order recordings of Silicon Dragon's prior webinars:
Ask A VC Anything
Brian Cohen of Pinterest fame
Bill Tai of Zoom fame
$20 each recording
Get in on the inner circle and exchange views about all that's cooking in
US-China venture deals and innovation.
May 14, New York City
US-China Competition & Collaboration
April 8, 1-2pm US EDT
Conference on World Affairs Webinar
University of Colorado
The Economic Impacts of Covid-19
April 7, 2pm US MDT
Next Silicon Dragon
Easter bunnies practicing social distancing: spotted
in Silicon Valley