Hello and welcome again to Startups Weekly, a weekend publication that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and enterprise capital information. Before I leap into in the present day’s matter, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I famous some challenges plaguing psychological well being tech startups. Before that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters.
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Anyway, onto the topic on everybody’s thoughts this week: SoftBank’s second Vision Fund.
Well into the night on Thursday, SoftBank introduced a goal of $108 billion for the Vision Fund 2. Yes, you learn that accurately, $108 billion. SoftBank certainly plans to boost much more capital for its sophomore car than it did for the record-breaking debut imaginative and prescient fund of $98 billion, which was majority-backed by the federal government funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, in addition to Apple, Foxconn and several other different restricted companions.
Its upcoming fund, to which SoftBank itself has dedicated $38 billion, has attracted funding from the National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Apple, Foxconn, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and extra. Microsoft, a brand new LP for SoftBank, reportedly hopped on board with the Japanese telecom big as a part of a grand scheme to persuade the huge fund’s portfolio firms to transition to Microsoft Azure, the corporate’s cloud platform that competes with Amazon Web Services . Here’s extra on that and a few evaluation from TechSwitch editor Jonathan Shieber.
News of the second Vision Fund comes as considerably of a shock. We’d heard SoftBank was having some hassle touchdown commitments for the trouble. Why? Well, as a result of SoftBank’s investments have included a wide-range of upstarts, together with some unsure bets. Brandless, an organization into which SoftBank injected some huge cash, has struggled in current months, for instance. Wag is claimed to be going downhill quick. And WeWork, backed with billions from SoftBank, nonetheless has quite a bit to show.
Here’s every part else we learn about The Vision Fund 2:
It’s centered on the “AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies.”
The full listing of buyers additionally contains seven Japanese monetary establishments: Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, SMBC Nikko Securities and Daiwa Securities Group. Also, worldwide banking companies supplier Standard Chartered Bank, in addition to “major participants from Taiwan.”
The $108 billion determine relies on memoranda of understandings (MOUs), or agreements for future funding from the aforementioned entities. That means SoftBank hasn’t but collected all this capital, other than the $38 billion it plans to speculate itself within the new Vision Fund.
Saudi and Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds should not listed as buyers within the new fund.
SoftBank is predicted to start deploying capital fund from Fund 2 instantly, and a primary shut is predicted in two months, per The Financial Times.
We’ll preserve you up to date on the Vision Fund 2’s investments, fundraising efforts and extra as we find out about them.
On to different information…

IPO Corner
WeWork is planning a September itemizing
The firm made headlines once more this week after phrase slipped it was accelerating its IPO plans and concentrating on a September itemizing. We don’t know a lot about its IPO plans but as we’re nonetheless ready on the co-working enterprise to unveil its S-1 submitting. Whether WeWork can match or exceed its present non-public market valuation of $47 billion is unlikely. I anticipate it should pull an Uber and battle, for fairly a while, to earn a market cap bigger than what VCs imagined it was value months earlier.
Robinhood had a wild week
The shopper monetary app made headlines twice this week. The first time as a result of it raised a whopping $323 million at a $7.6 billion valuation. That is an entire lot of cash for a enterprise that simply raised a equally sized monster spherical one yr in the past. In truth, it left us questioning, why the hell is Robinhood value $7.6 billion? Then, in a significant safety fake pas, the corporate revealed it has been storing consumer passwords in plaintext. So, go change your Robinhood password and don’t belief any enterprise to worth your safety. Sigh.
Another day, one other big fintech spherical
While we’re on the topic on fintech, TechSwitch editor Danny Crichton famous this week the rise of mega-rounds within the fintech house. This week, it was customized banking app MoneyLion, which raised $100 million at a close to unicorn valuation. Last week, it was N26, which raised one other $170 million on prime of its $300 million spherical earlier this yr. Brex raised one other $100 million final month on prime of its $125 million Series C from late final yr. Meanwhile, firms like funds platform Stripe, financial savings and funding platform Raisin, traveler lender Uplift, mortgage backers Blend and Better and financial savings depositor Acorns have additionally raised large new rounds this yr. Naturally, VC funding in fintech is poised to achieve file ranges this yr, in accordance with PitchBook.
Uber’s altering board
Arianna Huffington, the CEO of Thrive Global, stepped down from Uber’s board of administrators this week, a workforce she had been aside of since 2016. She addressed the information in a tweet, explaining that there have been no disagreements between her and the corporate, relatively, she was busy and had different issues to give attention to. Fair. Benchmark’s Matt Cohler additionally stepped down from the board this week, which leads us to imagine the ride-hailing big’s advisors are in a interval of transition. If you keep in mind, Uber’s first worker and longtime board member Ryan Graves stepped down from the board in May, simply after the corporate’s IPO. 

Today I instructed my fellow @Uber board members that given @Thrive’s progress, I’ll not have the ability to give my board duties the eye they deserve, so I will likely be stepping down. I look ahead to watching Uber go from energy to energy! Here is the e-mail I despatched to the board: pic.twitter.com/sck0CPLwAV
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) July 24, 2019

Startup Capital
Unity, now valued at $6B, elevating as much as $525MBird is elevating a Sequoia-led Series D at $2.5B valuationSMB payroll startup Gusto raises $200M Series DElon Musk’s Boring Company snags $120Ma16z values tenting enterprise HipCamp at $127MAn inside have a look at the startup behind Ashton Kutcher’s bizarre tweetsDataplor raises $2M to digitize small companies in Latin America
Extra Crunch
While we’re with reference to wonderful TechSwitch #content material, it’s in all probability time for a reminder for all of you to join Extra Crunch. For a low value, you’ll be able to study extra in regards to the startups and enterprise capital ecosystem by means of unique deep dives, Q&As, newsletters, assets and proposals and basic startup how-to guides. Here are a few of my present favourite EC posts:
What kinds of startups are probably the most worthwhile?
The roles instruments play in worker engagement
What to observe for in a VC time period sheet
If you get pleasure from this article, you should definitely take a look at TechSwitch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, accessible right here, Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm, TechSwitch editor Danny Crichton and I unpack Robinhood’s valuation and argue about scooter startups. Equity drops each Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast and Spotify.
That’s all, of us.

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