SoftBank Vision Fund Chief Rajeev Misra says time will disprove his critics

March 6, 2020, 2:37 PM UTC

To say SoftBank’s Vision Fund has had a tumultuous six months would be an understatement. There was WeWork’s failed IPO. Then the venture behemoth decided to cut ties with struggling portfolio company Wag. Then, there was the story alleging that SoftBank Vision Fund chief Rajeev Misra got his position by “striking at two of his main rivals inside SoftBank with a dark-arts campaign of personal sabotage.”

Now, Misra is breaking his silence to address some of those unflattering stories. In an interview with CNBC, he says time will prove his slew of critics wrong. He made the bold prediction that of the 90-plus companies in the Vision Fund portfolio, there will be dozens of IPOs in the next 18 months, and adds that over the next 24 months, “I guarantee you will see the outcome of our investments will change.”

The markets have been wobbly, and people’s fear of a looming recession may materialize. But SoftBank has a plan for that too: Jeff Housenbold, who has invested in DoorDash, Wag, Opendoor, and Brandless on behalf of the Vision Fund, told CNBC that “if the markets go into a prolonged slump of 12 to 24 months and there’s not access to public markets, we’ll have to look at raising additional capital at the company level.”

But despite the endless negative press and the accusations against Misra, he says he’s not stepping down and he’s not going anywhere. “I’m a key man,” he told CNBC. “I owe it to my stakeholders, my LPs, my employees to be here for the journey.”

The story also addresses how Misra plans to improve the culture, overcome the reputational hit from WeWork, and prove the critics wrong. It’s worth a read.

Read more.

CUSTOMERS WANT PAYBACK: Well, Robinhood found itself in quite the pickle after the no-fee stock brokerage startup experienced an outage that spanned two days. My colleague Lucinda Shen reports on the mounting pressure Robinhood is facing to assuage customers’ outrage. 

“I had no idea what was going on, I thought the stock market crashed and the Robinhood app couldn’t handle it. I just didn’t know,” said Brandon Browne, a 27-year-old Robinhood user for the last year or so. Robinhood did not officially reach out to Browne via email until 3:16 p.m. about the outage that began at 9:33 a.m., leaving him to piece together the issue via Google or Twitter. Robinhood adds that it was updating users via Twitter as well as the website’s status page earlier in the day.

One Twitter user has started an account calling for a potential class action lawsuit or arbitration from FINRA—a non-government entity that regulates brokers and exchanges. “We have been in touch with the firm and have been closely monitoring the situation,” a FINRA spokesperson said in an email. Read more at Fortune.

THE BLACK SWAN OF 2020: Sequoia Capital issued a note to founders and CEOs about the potential business consequences of the fast-spreading coronavirus. It warns that they might see a drop in business activity, supply chain disruptions, and cancelled meetings. 

From the post:

Having weathered every business downturn for nearly fifty years, we’ve learned an important lesson — nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances. In downturns, revenue and cash levels always fall faster than expenses. In some ways, business mirrors biology. As Darwin surmised, those who survive “are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.”

As Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky wrote in Data Sheet this morning, “This crisis, a public-health scare first and an economic calamity second, is quickly become something no one alive has ever seen.”

Read the full post here.

Polina Marinova
Twitter: @polina_marinova


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- GrainChain, a McAllen, Texas-based software platform that creates blockchain and internet-of-things innovations for the agricultural industry, raised $8.2 million in funding. Medici Ventures led the round. 

- X Shore, a Sweden-based startup behind a generation of fully-electric, silent boats, raised €5 million ($5.6 million). Led by Peter Dahlberg, founder and former Group CEO of AniCura, this brings X Shore’s total funding to-date to €9.5 million.

- Microverse, a San Francisco-based online school for software developers, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. General Catalyst led the round. 


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- Marlin Equity Partners acquired Heimdal, a Copenhagen-based provider of cloud-based cybersecurity solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Anacacia Capital invested in Sureway Employment and Training, an Australia-based unemployment and disability services businesses focused on regional and rural areas.  Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- SymphonyAI Group acquired TeraRecon, a Foster City, Calif.-based visualization and AI solution provider for medical imaging. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- WeDoctor, a Hangzhou-based medical health tech platform, plans to invite pitches from investment banks next week to lead a Hong Kong-based IPO that would value the company at $10 billion, Reuters reports citing sources. Tencent and Goldman Sachs back the firm. Read more.

- Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, a Brazil steelmaker, is considering an IPO of its mining unit, per Reuters. Read more.


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