SoftBank Launches 2nd $100 Billion-Plus AI Investment Fund
The march of money – big money – into AI continues. On the heels of Microsoft’s investment of $1 billion in OpenAI’s R&D of artificial general intelligence, SoftBank has announced a blockbuster $108 billion private fund comprised mainly of American and Asian investors.
Softbank Group Corp. said it will invest $38 billion and that the remaining $70 billion will come from, among others, Microsoft, Apple, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Misui Banking Corp and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, which have signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Softbank.
But Softbank isn’t stopping there. The company said “discussions are ongoing with additional participants in the fund,” and that “the total anticipated capital contribution to the fund is expected to increase.”
The Wall Street Journal broke the story of the new Vision Fund earlier this week, reporting that SoftBank’s initial Vision Fund, announced nearly two years ago, amounted to $100 billion – most of it from SoftBank, along with government funds from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi – which SoftBank has invested “at a dizzying pace.” SoftBank recently announced that the first Vision Fund has an ROI of more than 60 percent, and the research company CB Insights has reported that SoftBank has backed 24 of 377 unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion or more).