The Edgeof, a newly formed ecosystem builder and venture capital entity in Singapore, has agreed to acquire SoftBank Ventures Asia (SBVA), a wholly owned subsidiary of SoftBank Group (SBG). The acquisition is contingent upon regulatory approval and is expected to be completed this year.
Following the acquisition, SBVA will undergo a rebranding exercise with the aim to support, develop, and expand startups spanning from Singapore to the greater Pan-Asian market. To support the full lifecycle of these startups, multiple funds will be established, ranging from early to growth stages.
Based in Seoul, SBVA oversees approximately $2 billion in assets under management, targeting tech fields such as AI and smart robotics across Asia. Its investments include Singaporean automobile marketplace Carro, Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia (now part of GoTo) and Korean resale platform Danggeun Market.
SBVA also invested in South Korea’s home interior app OHouse, Japan’s sneaker reselling platform SODA, Indonesia’s cloud kitchen startup Yummy and hyper-local social commerce company Super.
Soft Bank Investments
Some of the portfolio companies SVBA invested in led to more considerable investments by SoftBank’s Vision Fund a few years later.
These investments include Tokopedia, an Indonesia-based e-commerce platform that received funding from SBVA in 2014 and SoftBank’s Vision Fund in 201, Iyuno, a provider of translated subtitles and other media localization services, which raised funding from SBVA and Vision Fund in 2018 and 2021, respectively, and Singapore’s cross-selling start-up Carro, which also has picked up from SBVA and Vision Fund. Nigerian fintech Opay also received investments from both SBVA and Vision Fund, media reports said.
The Edgeof Confident
The Edgeof, which was founded by Taizo Son and Chairman Atsushi Taira following eight years at Japanese venture capital fund Mistletoe, said that building strong relationships with LP investors and corporate partners will be a priority for the newly formed entity.
Mistletoe invested in 250 start-ups worldwide. The existing VC firm will collaborate with The Edgeof to help discover “game-changing” startups, it says. The Edgeof will unveil a fresh brand identity once the acquisition deal is closed, according to the company.
Taizo Son said that they were confident that their collective strengths and resources will ignite a new era of revolutionary technologies and solutions, establishing us as a prominent influence in developing and expanding startups worldwide.
SBVA CEO JP Lee said that they were excited to commence this new journey with The Edgeof. By joining forces, SBVA will be able to leverage its expertise, insights, and network to support visionary entrepreneurs in their endeavours and enable them to make a lasting global impact that transcends Asia, he added.
According to Forbes report, five of its portfolio companies made last year’s Forbes Asia 100 to Watch: Apartmentary, Doctornow, Endowus, Payhere and Toss Lab.
The divestment follows SoftBank’s reported net loss of $5.9 billion and a 90% decrease in start-up investments at the end of December 2022, after its flagship SoftBank Vision Fund struggled amid plummeting returns from its start-ups.
After writing down its $100 million stake in the now-defunct cryptocurrency platform FTX to zero, SoftBank has entirely backed down on its aggressive blockchain investments, sources familiar with the matter told Forbes in February, the report said.
Last August, Taizo Son planned to buy SoftBank Ventures Asia for $150 million, South Korean media reported. At that time, the ailing venture capital arm’s negotiations with other prospective buyers had fallen through, including talks with retail conglomerate Shinsegae Group.
Taizo, who is 15 years Masayoshi’s junior, launched GungHo Online Entertainment in 1998 – best known for Puzzle & Dragons, once the world’s bestselling mobile application. His firm Mistletoe claims its investments include drone delivery provider Zipline and PC gaming unicorn Playco, the report said.