Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank bets on public tech equities
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Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has been known for its outsized bets in venture capital.
Now it’s diversifying. On Tuesday, SoftBank said that it is establishing an asset management subsidiary with $555 million to invest in about “30 highly liquid publicly listed stocks,” though Bloomberg reports that the subsidiary is targeting more than $10 billion and may rise beyond that.
It’s a notable roster. It’s all about tech—an area SoftBank’s Vision Fund has been heavily focused on—and the investments are much safer bets compared to its Vision Fund companies. They don’t exactly take advantage of the market dislocation that some firms, such as those in the travel and leisure space, are facing. It really is, as SoftBank puts it, about the high liquidity—which makes sense at a time when the company is shedding assets.
That said, we don’t have full insight into the subsidiary’s investments, given the vehicle’s unusual financing structure that can stop SoftBank’s name from appearing in public records, per Bloomberg.
And I say diversification because Son is not characterizing it as an about-face for SoftBank. “We still plan on Unicorn hunting with Vision Fund two, three, and so on,” he says.
Airbnb’s IPO: The home-sharing platform is nearing a public filing that may come later this month, per the Wall Street Journal. Although the pandemic sent travel into a vortex, CEO Brian Chesky was surprised by the level of bookings that returned in recent months. What still remains unclear: whether the company may choose to go public by merging with a SPAC or via the much-rumored direct listing.
- Varjo, a Helsinki-based VR/XR hardware and software maker, raised $54 million in Series C funding. Tesi, NordicNinja, and Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank are among the new investors contributing to the round. Existing investors Lifeline Ventures, Atomico, EQT Ventures, and Volvo Cars Tech Fund also participated.
- Perimeter 81, a Tel Aviv-based VPN alternative, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round.
- Simplebet, a New York-based sports betting technology company, raised $35 million in total after closing an $11 million Series B in March. Investors include San Francisco Giants Baseball Club, David Blitzer (Co-Owner & Co-Managing Partner, Philadelphia 76ers), Jeff Mallett (Founding COO & President, Yahoo), Steve Ellman (former owner/Chairman, Phoenix Coyotes), David Levy (Former, AT&T/Warner Media), and Howard Schultz (Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks).
- Lumeon, a Boston-based care digital platform for hospitals and clinics, raised $30 million in Series D funding. Optum Ventures and Endeavour Vision led the round and was joined by investors including LSP, MTIP, IPF Partners, Gilde and Amadeus Capital Partners.
K2View, a Dallas and Tel Aviv-based provider of DataOps solutions, raised $28 million in funding. Forestay Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Genesis Partners.
- Fyllo, a Chicago-based maker of a compliance platform, raised $10 million, closing its Series A funding round at $26 million. JW Asset Management and K2 & Associates led the investment and was joined by investors including Arcadian, Salveo Capital and Phyto Partners.
- cred.ai, a Philadelphia-based credit card fintech company, raised over $18 million in Series A funding Darco Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Michael Rubin, Ben Simmons, John Legend and Tim Armstrong.
- Censys, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based cybersecurity company, raised $15.5 million in Series A funding. GV and Decibel led the round and were joined by Greylock Partners.
- Bodyport, a San Francisco-based digital health company focused on the detection and management of heart disease, raised $11.2 million in Series A funding. Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund led the round and was joined by existing investors Playground Global and Initialized Capital.
- ImmunoScape, a Singapore-based biotech firm focused on the immune system, raised $11 million (SGD $14.8 million) in funding. Anzu Partners led the round and was joined by investors including University of Tokyo Edge Capital, and NPR Holdings.
- Klima, a Berlin-based startup with an app that calculates carbon footprints, raised $5.8 million in seed funding. Backers include Christian Reber (Founder of Pitch), Jens Begemenn (Founder of Wooga), Niklas Jansen (Co-Founder of Blinkist) e.ventures, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and 468 Capital.
- Mighty, a Salt Lake City-based platform for emote and cross-functional teams, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Investors included Slack Fund, GSV Ventures, Origin Ventures, Album VC, Acadian Ventures, and Village Global.
- Incomlend, a Singapore-based invoice trading platform, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Sequoia India led the round.
- Artemest,, a Milan and New York-based e-commerce platform selling Italian luxury designs and home decor, raised $5 million in funding. OLMA Luxury Holdings and Brahma invested.
- Trala, a Chicago-based music education software company that teaches violin, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Next Play Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Lachy Groom’s fund, Techstars Ventures, Blue Titan Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Webb Investment Network, Phoenix Rising and Concrete Rose Capital.
- SMBX, a San Francisco-based fintech for small businesses to get bonds from everyday investors, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Better Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Impact America Fund and Unusual Ventures.
- GoPeer, a Boston-based educational technology company that pairs college students with K-12 students for virtual tutoring lessons, raised $2 million in seed funding. Ed Baker, former VP of Product and Growth at Uber, led the round.
- Allergy Amulet, a Madison, Wis.-based company with a portable allergen sensor, raised $3.3 million in seed funding. TitletownTech, a joint venture between Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers, led the round.
- The Privacy Co., a New York-based personal privacy and security company, raised $3 million in funding from investors including K2 Intelligence FIN.
- Mission Control, a St. Louis-based B2B SaaS platform for recreational league esports, raised $1.8 million in seed funding. Dundee Venture Capital led the round and was joined by investors including M25, Cultivation Capital, and MATH Venture Partners.
- Arcline Investment Management acquired Jersey Elevator, a provider of elevator maintenance, modernization and installation services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Clayton, Dubilier & Rice will acquire HD Supply Holdings’s (NASDAQ:HDS) Construction & Industrial--White Cap business, a distributor of specialty concrete and construction products and services in North America serving professional contractors, for $2.9 billion in cash. CD&R will hold 65% of the combined company, while current Construction Supply Group shareholders, led by Sterling Group, will hold 35%.
- One Equity Partners acquired American Medical Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of wound care, ostomy, urology and tracheostomy supplies and services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Santa Monica Fertility, a portfolio company of Webster Equity Partners, acquired Newborn Advantage Surrogacy, a Dallas-based surrogacy agency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Payroc, backed by Parthenon Capital, has acquired Strategic Payment Systems, a Canton, Mass.-based provider of products to merchants, sales offices, financial institutions and associations. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Resolute Industrial Holdings, a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners, acquired the assets of DriExpress and Empire Holdings, two specialty HVAC&R equipment rental and logistical support businesses. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- StoneCo (Nasdaq: STNE) plans to acquire Linx SA (BSP: LINX3), a Sao Paolo-based software provider, for 6.04 billion reais ($1.12 billion) in stock and cash.
- SpotOn Transact acquired Seatninja, a reservation management company for restaurants. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
BREAKUPS, HANGUPS, AND BANKRUPTCIES
- Brooks Brothers, an apparel retailer that filed for bankruptcy, plans to sell to Authentic Brands Group and SPARC Group after the group increased their offer to $325 million.
- FuboTV, a New York-based streaming platform also known as FaceBank Group after a merger in March, re-filed for an $100 million IPO. Backers include Disney, AMC Network Ventures, and Comcast. Read more.
- Inhibrx, a La Jolle, Calif.-based maker of cancer and rare diseases therapies, plans to raise $102 million by offering 6 million shares priced between $16 to $18. RA Capital Funds and Viking Global back the firm. Evercore ISI, Barclays and Nomura Securities are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “INBX.” Read more.
- Duck Creek Technologies, a Boston-based provider of software for insurers, plans to raise $360 million in an offering of 15 million shares priced between $23 to $25.
- Rocketship.vc, an early-stage venture capital firm, raised $100 million for its second fund Backers include Vulcan Capital, Adams Street Partners, as well as the family office of Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon from A16z.
- La Famiglia, a Berlin-based firm investing in B2B firms, raised a €50 million fund.