As tech slumps, SoftBank sells VC unit to Singapore-based firm led by Masayoshi Son’s brother

SoftBank is selling one of its venture capital arms, South Korea-based SoftBank Ventures Asia (SBVA), to The Edgeof, a Singaporean investment firm, according to the two companies.  

The deal’s financial terms have not been disclosed, but the Singaporean VC firm aims to complete the acquisition this year. 

Last month, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son’s younger brother Taizo Son and Atsushi Taira, managing director of Mistletoe, founded The Edgeof “with an aim to transform the startup ecosystem across Asia by creating a supportive environment for αStartups.” They define so-called “αStartups” as startups that have a mission to address fundamental problems in the world with advanced technology, according to the company’s statement. 

The acquisition comes after SoftBank and its Vision Fund posted massive losses amid the tech slump and macroeconomic slowdown. In February, SoftBank said its investment vehicles posted a loss of nearly $6 billion in the quarter that ended in December, marking its fourth consecutive quarterly loss. Last May, the Japanese tech giant said in an earnings call that it would cut startup investments by 50-75% through March 2023. 


SoftBank Ventures Asia has about $2 billion in assets under management (AUM) and has invested in a host of portfolios across Asia, including South Korea’s home interior app OHouse, Japan’s sneaker reselling platform SODA, Indonesia’s cloud kitchen startup Yummy and hyper-local social commerce company Super.  

Some of the portfolio companies the Seoul-based VC firm invested in led to more considerable investments by SoftBank’s Vision Fund a few years later. These include Tokopedia, an Indonesia-based e-commerce platform that received funding from SBVA in 2014 and SoftBank’s Vision Fund in 2018; Iyuno, a provider of translated subtitles and other media localization services, which raised funding from SBVA and Vision Fund in 2018 and 2021, respectively; and Singapore’s cross-selling startup Carro, which also has picked up from SBVA and Vision Fund. Nigerian fintech Opay is another example that bagged capital from both SBVA and Vision Fund

“We are excited to commence this new journey with The Edgeof,” JP Lee, CEO of SoftBank Ventures Asia, said in a statement. “By joining forces, SBVA will be able to leverage its expertise, insights, and network to support visionary entrepreneurs in their endeavours and enable them to make a lasting global impact that transcends Asia.”

The two founders, Son and Taira, already established their venture capital firm, Mistletoe, in 2014, which invested in 250 startups worldwide. The existing VC firm will collaborate with The Edgeof to help discover “game-changing” startups, it says. The Edgeof will unveil a fresh brand identity once the acquisition deal is closed, according to the company. 

“We are confident that our collective strengths and resources will ignite a new era of revolutionary technologies and solutions, establishing us as a prominent influence in developing and expanding αStartups worldwide,” Son said. 


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