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Published on May 21st, 2017 | by James Ayre


Softbank–Saudi Tech Fund Now Largest In World — $93 Billion For Investments In AI, Robotics, Etc.

May 21st, 2017 by  

Softbank robot.

The new Softbank–Saudi tech fund — backed primarily by Japan’s Softbank Group and by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund — has now raised more than $93 billion for investment in various emerging tech sectors, such as artificial intelligence (AI) development and robotics.

The news was accompanied by this public statement from the Softbank Vision Fund: “The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment.”

Reuters provides some background: “Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank, a telecommunications and tech investment group, revealed plans for the fund last October and since then it has obtained commitments from some of the world’s most deep-pocketed investors.

“In addition to Softbank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the new fund’s investors include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, which has committed $15 billion, Apple Inc, Qualcomm, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology, and Japan’s Sharp Corp. …

“The new fund said it would seek to buy minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging businesses to established, multi-billion-dollar firms. It expects to obtain preferred access to long-term investment opportunities worth $100 million or more.”

Part of the reason that I decided to cover this news for CleanTechnica was to draw attention to the enormous amounts of money that are swirling around in the investment sectors — money that could potentially be used to fund the deployment of renewable energy, electric vehicle tech, self-driving vehicle tech, etc.

In other words, the money is there, a lot of it is simply being invested elsewhere for the time being.

With regard to the Softbank Vision Fund, other areas of investment besides AI and robotics (which could certainly related to EVs), will reportedly be “mobile computing, communications infrastructure, computational biology, consumer internet businesses, and financial technology.”

The plan is apparently for fundraising to end within 6 months, and for the fund to total more than $100 billion of committee capital.



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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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