SoftBank Capital Announces $250 Million PrinceVille Investment Fund Aimed at Growth Stage Internet and New Media Businesses with International Aspirations
VC firm adds experience in growth investing and Asian expansion to complement its early stage team
Silicon Valley, CA & New York, NY – SoftBank Capital, a venture group affiliated with Japan’s SOFTBANK Corp. (“SOFTBANK”), today announced the closing of its $250 million SoftBank PrinceVille Investments, L.P. fund (“PrinceVille Fund”). Due to its long-standing strategic relationship with SOFTBANK, a worldwide leader in Internet, mobile communications, broadband services and fixed-line telecommunications with an extensive presence in Japan, China and the Asia region, the fund is uniquely positioned to help growth stage technology companies achieve success in their international expansion plans.
Alibaba Group, the worldwide e-commerce leader based in China, and MediaTek, Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company based in Taiwan, through affiliates are limited partners and members of the Advisory Committee of the PrinceVille Fund and provide additional strategic value and local experience in Asia.
Over the past few years, SoftBank Capital has had a number of successful exits from its portfolio including Buddy Media acquired by Salesforce.com, Hyperpublic acquired by Groupon, Huffington Post acquired by AOL and OMGPOP acquired by Zynga. The PrinceVille Fund’s investment focus will continue the themes of previous SoftBank Capital investments around sector leading companies in social media, mobile applications, e-commerce, online advertising, gaming and cloud computing.
The PrinceVille Fund is designed to help growth stage entrepreneurs and their businesses compete and expand globally in challenging markets like Japan and China, which are attractive to western companies, but often difficult for foreign companies who might otherwise lack the necessary experience to compete there. Asia offers a mature mobile market that represents a massive opportunity to monetize millions of new customers who are seeing rising incomes, and where consumer spending is growing at much faster rates than in other parts of the world.
“Our long-term ties and active working relationship with SOFTBANK allow us to have an unmatched ability to guide companies as they strategically approach their Asian expansion plans. SOFTBANK related companies like Softbank Mobile, Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba are often the perfect partners for companies looking to accelerate their market presence in the region and we are the only fund investing in these sectors with deep connections to all of those companies,” said Steve Murray, partner at SoftBank Capital.
“We are excited to launch the PrinceVille Fund as a complement to our early stage investment efforts which have been ongoing for some time. SoftBank Capital now has the capacity to partner with technology companies and entrepreneurs at all stages of their life cycle. We can offer companies and entrepreneurs the best of both of what a strategic investor and an experienced, committed financial investor can bring to these companies on their journey to success" said Ron Fisher, managing partner of SoftBank Capital.
In connection with the launch of this fund, SoftBank Capital has announced three new seasoned executives to join the investment team. New executives include Kabir Misra, managing partner at SoftBank Capital and president/CEO of SB China and India Holdings, which manages Bodhi Investments LLC (a venture fund focused on early stage technology investments in Asia and the U.S.), Scarlett O’Sullivan, principal, and lead for U.S. investments for Bodhi Investments LLC, and Matt Krna, principal. Matt joined SoftBank Capital from Investor Growth Capital where he led several of the firm’s successful growth stage investments. Earlier in his career, Matt was with Canaan Partners, CSFB and DLJ.
“For entrepreneurs looking for a committed investment partner, SoftBank Capital offers one of the best track records and some of the deepest industry connections. They know the space, they know the players and they have very real relationships to help your business grow and succeed,” said Michael Lazerow, co-founder, Buddy Media & CMO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital makes early and growth stage investments in companies that connect people, devices and the world. SoftBank Capital invests in category leaders in consumer and enterprise mobile, online advertising, ecommerce, social media and cloud computing. We have been making investments since 1995, with recent exits including Buddy Media, Hyperpublic, Huffington Post, OMGPOP, Pivot and ZipList. Our investors include SOFTBANK Corp., which introduced the iPhone to the Japanese market and recently announced the strategic acquisition of Sprint; Yahoo! Japan, the largest search engine and content portal in Japan; and Alibaba Group, the largest online B2B company in China. To learn more, visit www.softbank.com.
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