Sunday, May 19, 2019

"Is Softbank’s Vision Fund… Out of Ideas?"

From Institutional Investor, May 14:
Providing capital to another capital provider is all part of the grand strategy, argues one analyst.
Softbank’s $100 billion Vision Fund surprised some industry watchers this week, when news broke of its $800 million investment in Greensill Capital.

Vastly large checks are the venture capital fund’s norm; writing them to another investment outfit is not.

Greensill Capital is a London-based nonbank provider of working capital, and announced the deal Monday. Vision Fund, raised by Japanese telecommunications company Softbank, had previously focused its capital on the biotechnology and internet sectors, typically in late-stage growth companies. 

Rather than indicating a pivot, one analyst argues that the Greensill play aligns with established strategy. The way he sees it, Vision Fund is taking advantage of a growing gap in the financial services market by investing in a tech-focused lender serving small and mid-size companies.  
“I would look at the Greensill investment as a tech investment,” EquityZen analyst Adam Augusiak-Boro told Institutional Investor in an interview Monday. “I wouldn’t think of it as a path to investing in a traditional financial firm.” ...MORE