After make intensive bets in the ride-hailing space, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is reportedly eyeing the shared mobility space in India, including two-wheeler rentals, and self-driving vehicle rentals among others.
According to a media report which cited sources close to the development, SoftBank has been meeting with various vehicle rental companies in India such as dockless two-wheeler rental startups Bounce and Vogo, along with a car rental platform Drivezy, although there is no clarity about a possible investment.
The report noted a SoftBank spokesperson who reportedly said, the company is focused on ride-hailing as a sector and is also interested in future technologies in the area.
Both Bounce and Vogo have recently been in the news for their latest funding rounds. While, Bounce raised around $1.45 Mn in debt funding from Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal’s BAC Acquisitions in July. Vogo has raised two consecutive rounds in June from Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan, Alteria Capital and others.
Some of SoftBank’s key investments in India include Ola, OYO, Hike, Paytm, FirstCry, Grofers, Delhivery, Automation Anywhere, and Paytm Mall. The technology-focused SoftBank Vision fund I was set up in 2017 with a total corpus of $100Bn.
In May, SoftBank reported that its investments in Indian startups Flipkart and OYO have paid off with a gain of $2.7 Bn, split between realised and unrealised gains. OYO’s valuation had increased to $1.4Bn (¥154,189 Mn) in FY 2019.
Last month, SoftBank has also launched its second technology-focussed investment corpus, SoftBank Vision Fund II, with an outlay of $108 Bn. The fund has received commitments from technology majors such as Apple and Microsoft.
A SoftBank statement added, “The objective of the fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies.”
Earlier at SoftBank Group’s 39th annual general meeting of shareholders, CEO Masayoshi Son had projected that the firm’s portfolio could potentially grow 33-times to reach a $1.8 Tn (200 Tn JPY) valuation in the next two decades.
Further, SoftBank Group’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBITDA) were reported to have crossed over $18.5 Bn (2 Tn JPY) in FY18. Son had attributed this growth to its tech-centric investment corpus SoftBank Vision Fund I.