SoftBank-backed construction giant Katerra said to be shutting down after raising billions

After burning through more than $2 billion in funding, SoftBank-backed construction startup Katerra has told employees that it will be shutting down operations, according to a report in The Information.

Last year, the company claimed it had more than 8,000 employees globally.

Menlo Park-based Katerra had already been struggling to find a viable business in cheaply building apartments properties for real estate developers when it was pushed to the edge of bankruptcy late last year, with the company blaming its latest struggles on climbing labor and material costs associated with the pandemic. The company was given one last chance after receiving a $200 million bailout from SoftBank, which reportedly bought up a majority stake after already having invested billions in the effort.

Katerra’s fall marks the most high-profile failure for SoftBank since the failed 2019 WeWork IPO. The firm has largely been seeing gains among its Vision Fund portfolio in the past year amid a larger tech stock rally, though some of those gains have receded in recent months.

In an interview with Barron’s last month, CEO Masayoshi Son highlighted Katerra as well as SoftBank’s investment in Greensill as “regrets” of his. Katerra’s other backers included Khosla Ventures, DFJ Growth, Greenoaks Capital and Celesta Capital.

TechCrunch has reached out to Katerra for comment.


#ceo, #companies, #dfj-growth, #greenoaks-capital, #katerra, #khosla-ventures, #masayoshi-son, #menlo-park, #softbank, #softbank-group, #tc, #vision-fund, #vodafone, #wework


Coupang follows Roblox to a strong first day of trading

Another day brings another pubic debut of a multibillion dollar company that performed well out of the gate.

This time it’s Coupang, whose shares are currently up just over 46% to more than $51 after pricing at $35, $1 above the South Korean e-commerce giant’s IPO price range. Raising one’s range and then pricing above it only to see the public markets take the new equity higher is somewhat par for the course when it comes to the most successful recent debuts, to which we can add Coupang.

The company’s mix of rapid growth and slimming deficits appear to have found an audience among public money types, so let’s quickly explore the price they paid. What was the company worth at its IPO price, and what is worth now? And, of course, we’ll want to calculate revenue run rates for each figure.

Oh — we’ll also need to calculate how much money SoftBank made. Inverted J-Curve indeed!

Coupang’s IPO and current value

As Renaissance Capital notes, Coupang boosted its share allocation to 130 million shares from 120 million. This made the value of both primary and secondary shares in its public offering worth a total of $4.55 billion. That’s a lot of damn money.

At its IPO price of $35, the same source pegged the company’s fully diluted IPO valuation at $62.9 billion. By our accounting, the company’s simple valuation at its IPO price came to $60.4 billion. Those numbers are close enough that we’ll just stick with the diluted number out of kindness to the company’s fans.

Doing some quick math, Coupang is worth around $92 billion at the moment. That’s a huge number that nearly zero companies will ever reach. Some do, of course, but as a percentage of startups that start it’s an outlier figure.

#coupang, #ec-ecommerce-and-d2c, #ecommerce, #fundings-exits, #gaming, #softbank, #startups, #tc, #vision-fund


On the diversity front, 2020 may prove a tipping point

Since Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd in May and kicked off months of nationwide protests, the corporate world — including venture capitalists — have attempted to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Indeed, many quickly took to social media to voice their support, broadcast their new diversity-focused networking groups and pledge to do better, particularly when it comes to finding and funding more Black founders and other underrepresented entrepreneurs.

As of 2018, 81% of venture firms still lacked a single Black investor.

It was tempting to dismiss it as so much hot air, given that VCs have talked about diversity for eons without doing much about it.

As of February 2020, according to a report by All Raise, an organization that promotes female founders, 65% of VC firms still had no female partners. As of 2018, 81% of venture firms still lacked a single Black investor, per an analysis by Equal Ventures partner Richard Kerby.

Those numbers are comparatively rosy when considering the percentage of women and Black investors in senior decision-making roles. According to recent PitchBook data, at the start of this year, just 12.4% of decision-makers at U.S. venture firms were women (up slightly from the 9.65% at the start of 2019). As for for the number of Black investors in senior positions, it has long hovered around just 2%.

But here’s the good news: While it remains an ongoing challenge to get these numbers in sync with other industries, there were two developments specifically in 2020 that may beget more action in 2021.

We’d first point to the decision this fall by Yale’s endowment to require its asset managers to do better when it comes to diversity. Specifically, the school’s $32 billion endowment — led since 1985 by investor David Swensen — told its 70 U.S. money managers that from here on out, they will be measured annually on their progress in increasing the diversity of their investment staff, from hiring to training to mentoring to their retention of women and minorities.

#diversity, #equal-ventures, #latin-america, #lo-toney, #marcelo-claure, #richard-kerby, #stacy-brown-philpot, #startups, #venture-capital, #vision-fund


Google-backed Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raises $1.7 billion

The Chinese Uber for trucks Manbang announced Tuesday that it has raised $1.7 billion in its latest funding round, two years after it hauled in $1.9 billion from investors including SoftBank Group and Alphabet Inc’s venture capital fund CapitalG.

The news came fresh off a Wall Street Journal report two weeks ago that Manbang was seeking $1 billion ahead of an initial public offering next year. The company declined to comment on the matter, though its CEO Zhang Hui said in May 2019 that the firm was “not in a rush” to go public.

Manbang said it achieved profitability this year. Its valuation was reportedly on course to reach $10 billion in 2018.

The company, which runs an app matching truck drivers and merchants transporting cargo and provides financial services to truckers, was formed from a merger between rivals Yunmanman and Huochebang in 2017. It was a time when China’s “sharing economy” craze began to see consolidation and shakeup.

The latest financing again attracted high-profile backers, including returning investors SoftBank Vision Fund and Sequoia Capital China, Permira and Fidelity, a consortium that co-led the round. Other participants were Hillhouse Capital, GGV Capital, Lightspeed China Partners, Tencent, Jack Ma’s YF Capital and more.

The company has other Alibaba ties. Its CEO Zhang, who founded Yunmanman, hailed from Alibaba’s famed B2B department where Manbang chairman Wang Gang also worked before he went on to fund ride-hailing giant Didi’s angel round.

Manbang claims its platform has over 10 million verified drivers and 5 million cargo owners. The latest funding will allow it to further invest in research and development, upgrade its matching system, and expand its service capacity to functions like door-to-door transportation.

Sequoia is quite bullish about truck-hailing as it made its sixth investment in Manbang. For Permira, a European private equity fund, the Manbang investment marked the China debut of its Growth Opportunities Fund.

#asia, #china, #funding, #huochebang, #manbang, #softbank, #tc, #transportation, #truck-hailing, #vision-fund, #yunmanman


The VC and founder winners of DoorDash’s IPO

After years of rumors and high-flying headlines, we finally have the S-1 for DoorDash. Alex has covered the primary details, but I figured it would be good to dive in so we can see who is raking in the returns on the country’s delivery startup champion.

DoorDash’s filing indicates that the company raised a combined $2.485 billion in capital across a seed round and eight rounds Series A-H. The three VC firms with the largest holdings noted in the filing were the SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia and Singapore’s GIC investment fund, listed here as Greenview (no relation to the cannabis fund of the same name that was charged with fraud a few years ago).

DoorDash’s most recent per share valuation was $45.91 for the Series H back in June. Shares purchased by investors over the entire life of the company had an average value of $8.73.

We’ll dive into the VCs and who won here in a second, but first, I want to discuss the founders and their ownership stakes. Co-founder and CEO Tony Xu currently owns 5.2% of DoorDash, according to the filing, which doesn’t include any future performance incentives. Co-founders Andy Fang, who is CTO, and chief product officer Stanley Tang both own 4.7% of the company. A fourth co-founder, Evan Moore, formerly head of operations at DoorDash and now a partner at DoorDash’s seed investor Khosla, doesn’t have his ownership listed as he is no longer an active executive with the company.

#doordash, #finance, #gic, #sequoia, #venture-capital, #vision-fund


Spying a pivot to ghost kitchens, Softbank’s second Vision Fund pours $120 million into Ordermark

“We’re building a decentralized ghost kitchen,” is a sentence that could launch a thousand investor calls, and Alex Canter, the chief executive officer behind Ordermark, knows it.

The 29 year-old CEO has, indeed, built a decentralized ghost kitchen — and managed to convince Softbank’s latest Vision Fund to invest in a $120 million round for that the company announced today.

“We have uncovered an opportunity to help drive more orders into restaurants through this offering we have called Nextbite,” Canter said. “Nextbite is a portfolio of delivery-only restaurant brands that exist only on UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates.”

After hearing about Nextbite, Softbank actually didn’t take much convincing.

Investors from the latest Vision Fund first reached out to Canter shortly after the company announced its last round of funding in 2019. Canter had just begun experimenting with Nextbite at the time, but now the business is driving a huge chunk of the company’s revenues and could account for a large percentage of the company’s total business in the coming year.

“We believe Ordermark’s leading technology platform and innovative virtual restaurant concepts are transforming the restaurant industry,” said Jeff Housenbold, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “Alex and the Ordermark team have a deep understanding of the challenges that independent restaurants face. We are excited to support their mission to help independent restaurants optimize online ordering and generate incremental revenue from under-utilized kitchens.”

It’s an interesting pivot for a company that began as a centralized hub for restaurants to manage all of the online delivery orders coming in through various delivery services like GrubHub, Postmates and Uber Eats .

Canter is no stranger to the restaurant business. His family owns one of Los Angeles’ most famous delicatessens, the eponymous Canters, and Ordermark apocryphally started as a way to manage the restaurant’s own back-of-the-house chaos caused by a profusion of delivery service orders.

Now, instead of becoming the proprietor of one restaurant brand, Canter is running 15 of them. Unlike Cloud Kitchens, Kitchen United or Reef, Ordermark isn’t building or operating new kitchens. Instead, the company relies on the unused kitchen capacity of restaurants that the company has vetted to act as its quasi-franchisees.

Ordermark logos for some of the company’s delivery-only restaurant concepts. Image Credit: Ordermark

While most of the restaurant concepts have been developed internally, Ordermark isn’t above the occasional celebrity sponsorship. Its Nextbite service has partnered with Wiz Khalifa on a delivery-only restaurant called HotBox by Wiz, featuring “stoner-friendly munchies”.

The first brand Canter launched was The Grilled Cheese Society, which took advantage of unused kitchens at places like a Los Angeles nightclub and mom-and-pop restaurants across the East Coast to build out a footprint that now covers 100 locations nationwide.

It’s perhaps the growth of the HotBox brand that shows what kind of growth Nextbite could promote. Since the brand’s launch in early October, it has grown to a footprint that will reach 50 cities by the end of the month, according to Canter.

In some ways, Nextbite couldn’t exist without Ordermark’s delivery aggregation technology. “The way that Ordermark’s technology is designed, not only can we aggregate online orders into the device, but we can aggregate multiple brands into the device.”

For restaurants that sign up to be fulfillment partners for the Nextbite brands, there are few additional upfront costs and a fair bit of upside, according to Canter. Restaurants are making 30% margin on every order they take for one of Ordermark’s brands, Canter said.

To become a part of Nextbite’s network of restaurants the business has to be vetted by Ordermark. The company takes cues on what kinds of restaurants are performing well in different regions and develops a menu that is suited to match those trends. For instance, Nextbite recently launched a hot chicken sandwich brand after seeing the item rise in popularity on different digital delivery services.

Restaurants are chosen that can match the menu style of the delivery-only brand that Ordermark’s Nextbite business creates.

Behind those menus is Guy Simsiman, a Denver-based chef who is in charge of developing new menus for the company.

“We’re building things that we know can scale and we do a lot of upfront vetting to find the right types of fulfillment partners,” said Canter. “When a restaurant signs up to become a fulfillment partner, we’re vetting them and training them on what they need to do to … We’re guiding them to become fulfillment partners for these concepts. There’s a whole bunch of training that happens. Then there’s secret shopping and review monitoring to monitor quality.”

While Nextbite may be the future of Ordermark’s business, its overall health looks solid. The company is about to cross $1 billion worth of orders processed through its system.

“We are laser focused right now on helping our restaurants survive COVID and the best way we can do that is by doubling down on the incremental revenues of the Nextbite business,” said Canter when asked where the company’s emphasis would be going forward.

Nextbite is something we’ve been developing for a while now. We took it to market at the end of last year prior to COVID. When COVID kicked in every restaurant in America needed to be more creative. People were looking for alternative ways to supplement the loss in foot traffic,” he said. Nextbite provided an answer.

#america, #business, #ceo, #chef, #chief-executive-officer, #companies, #covid, #delivery-services, #denver, #doordash, #east-coast, #grubhub, #jeff-housenbold, #laser, #los-angeles, #managing-partner, #menu, #online-food-ordering, #ordermark, #postmates, #restaurant, #tc, #uber, #uber-eats, #vision-fund, #websites, #wiz


SoftBank’s $100 million diversity and inclusion fund makes its first bet … in health Vitable Health

SoftBank’s Opportunity Growth Fund has made the health insurance startup Vitable Health the first commitment from its $100 million fund dedicated to investing in startups founded by entrepreneurs of color.

The Philadelphia-based company, which recently launched from Y Combinator, is focused on bringing basic health insurance to underserved and low-income communities.

Founded by Joseph Kitonga, a 23 year-old entrepreneur whose parents immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago, Vitable provides affordable acute healthcare coverage to underinsured or un-insured populations and was born out of Kitonga’s experience watching employees of his parents’ home healthcare agency struggle to receive basic coverage.

The $1.5 million commitment was led by the SoftBank Group Corp Opportunity Fund, and included Y Combinator, DNA Capital, Commerce Ventures, MSA Capital, Coughdrop Capital, and angels like Immad Akhund, the chief executive of Mercury Bank; and Allison Pickens, the former chief operating officer of Gainsight, the company said in a blog post.

“Good healthcare is a basic right that every American deserves, whoever they are,” said Paul Judge, the Atlanta-based Early Stage Investing Lead for the fund and the founder of Atlanta’s TechSquare Labs investment fund. “We’ve been inspired by Joseph and his approach to addressing this challenge. Vitable Health is bridging critical gaps in patient care and has emerged as a necessary, essential service for all whether they’re uninsured, underinsured, or simply need a better plan for their lifestyle.”

SoftBank created the opportunity fund while cities around the U.S. were witnessing a wave of public protests against systemic racism and police brutality stemming from the murder of the Black Minneapolis citizen George Floyd at the hands of white police officers.  Floyd’s murder reignited simmering tensions between citizens and police in cities around the country over issues including police brutality, the militarization of civil authorities, and racial profiling.

SoftBank has had its own problems with racism in its portfolio this year. A few months before the firm launched its fund, the CEO and founder of one of its portfolio companies, Banjo, resigned after it was revealed that he once had ties to the KKK.

With the Opportunity Fund, SoftBank is trying to address some of its issues, and notably, will not take a traditional management fee for transactions out of the fund “but instead will seek to put as much capital as possible into the hands of founders and entrepreneurs of color.”

The Opportunity Fund is the third investment vehicle announced by SoftBank in the last several years. The biggest of them all is the $100 billion Vision Fund; then last year it announced the $2 billion Innovation Fund focused on Latin America.

#atlanta, #ceo, #chief-operating-officer, #commerce-ventures, #companies, #entrepreneur, #founder, #gainsight, #george-floyd, #healthcare, #investment-fund, #joseph-kitonga, #latin-america, #minneapolis, #paul, #philadelphia, #softbank-group, #tc, #united-states, #vision-fund, #vitable-health, #vodafone, #y-combinator


Silverlake adds a $2 billion “longterm” hedge fund backed by Abu Dhabi to its tech finance toolkit

Silver Lake Partners, the multi-billion dollar tech-focused investment firm, is adding a longterm hedge fund backed by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala, to its array of investment vehicles to finance technology companies.

The move into multi-strategy investing represents the diversification of financing vehicles that companies have at their disposal and gives the private equity firm the tools it needs to compete in a world awash with capital and new ways for companies to access public market financing.

It’s probably not a coincidence that the public-private, long-only, investment structure is happening as more tech companies are eschewing later stage financing to find cash on public markets through things like special purpose acquisition companies (SPACS).

According to a statement from the firm, the new strategy has a 25-year deployment life cycle and can be invested across structures, geographies and industries. The agreement makes the two financial entities a couple that will really span time together.

In addition to the new strategy, Silver Lake’s partnership has a new minority shareholder in the Abu Dhabi-backed sovereign wealth fund. Mubadala took a minority stake in the firm by buying up half of the 10% chunk of the firm that Silver Lake’s partners sold to Dyal Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Neuberger Berman.

“Silver Lake is a top performer for Dyal, having innovated, evolved and expanded to prudently grow its assets under management from $23 billion when we first acquired our stake to more than $60 billion today,” said Michael Rees, Managing Director and Head of Dyal Capital Partners, in a statement. “This transaction with Mubadala and their commitment to Silver Lake’s new long-term capital vehicle is a strong endorsement of Silver Lake’s differentiated, global capabilities and underscores our conviction in the ability to generate compelling returns by owning stakes in the world’s leading private investment firms.”

It’s not the first time that the two firms have hooked up. Mubadala is a co-investor alongside Silver Lake in the talent agency and entertainment giant, Endeavor; the autonomous vehicle technology developer, Waymo; and the India-based Jio Platforms.

The firm’s co-chief executives Egon Durban and Greg Mondre said in a joint statement that the new deal would allow the firm to capitalize on a wide range of investment opportunities, including ones outside of the mandates of existing funds.

“As an institution that has long seen the potential of investing in the technology sector, we are excited to partner with Silver Lake, one of the world’s most respected technology investors, to capitalize on major opportunities within and beyond the industry,” said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala, in a statement.  “Technology is the bedrock of the global economy, and fundamental to all other sectors that are being significantly digitalized.  Our goal is to be well positioned to take advantage of this accelerated digital transformation and its potential, and we believe Silver Lake is the right partner and that this is an optimal structure for us.”

Mubadala’s tech portfolio investments kicked off in 2007 with an investment in the chip manufacturer AMD and then through the creation of the semiconductor manufacturing company GlobalFoundries. It’s also backed the medtech company PCI Pharma Services, and a number of ridesharing and e-commerce companies in Abu Dhabi and Silicon Valley, the company said.

The deal with Silver Lake could also be seen as a slap in the face for Softbank — a long time partner for Mubadala, which was an investor in the Japanese investment firm’s $100 billion Vision Fund and a $400 million European-focused investment vehicle which launched in February of last year.

#abu-dhabi, #amd, #finance, #investment, #jio-platforms, #money, #mubadala, #mubadala-investment-company, #neuberger-berman, #private-equity, #semiconductor, #silver-lake, #silver-lake-partners, #softbank, #softbank-group, #tc, #vision-fund, #waymo


Chinese online learning app Zuoyebang raises $750M

Zuoyebang, a Beijing-headquartered startup that runs an online learning app, said on Monday it has raised $750 million in a new financing round as investors demonstrate their continued trust in — and focus on — Asia’s booming edtech market.

U.S. investment firm Tiger Global and Hong Kong-based private equity firm FountainVest Partners led the six-year-old startup’s Series E financing round. Existing investors including SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China, Xiang He Capital, Qatar Investment Authority also participated in the round, which brings the startup’s to-date raise to $1.33 billion.

As we have previously noted in our coverage, Zuoyebang’s app helps students — ranging from kindergarten to 12th-grade — solve problems and understand complex concepts.

The app, which offers online courses and runs live lessons, also allows students to take a picture of a problem, upload it to the app, and get its solution. The startup claims it uses artificial intelligence to identify the question and its answer.

Zuoyebang has amassed 170 million monthly active users, about 50 million of whom use the service each day, the startup said in a post (in Chinese). More than 12 million of these users are paid subscribers, it said.

The announcement today further illustrates the opportunities investors are seeing in the online education sector in Asia. Last week, Indian edtech giant Byju’s announced it had received fresh funds from Mary Meeker’s fund, Bond.

SoftBank counts Zuoyebang among its 88 portfolio startups that have demonstrated growth in recent quarters. Zuoyebang was founded by Baidu in 2015. A year later the Chinese search giant spun off Zuoyebang into an independent startup.

Zuoyebang competes with a handful of startups in China, including Yuanfudao, which offers a similar service. In March, Yuanfudao said it had secured $1 billion in a financing round led by Tencent and Hillhouse Capital. The startup was valued at $7.8 billion at the time. Reuters reported earlier this month that Zuoyebang could be valued at $6.5 billion in the new financing round.

According to research firm iResearch, the online education market in China could be worth $81 billion in two years.

#apps, #asia, #baidu, #education, #funding, #qatar-investment-authority, #sequoia-capital-china, #softbank, #softbank-vision-fund, #tiger-global, #vision-fund, #zuoyebang


Masayoshi Son resigns from board of Alibaba; defends SoftBank Group’s investment strategy

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son said on Thursday he is leaving the board of Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group today, a month after Ma left the board of Son’s technology group.

Son said he sees the move as “graduating” from Alibaba Group’s board, his most successful investment to date, as he swiftly moved to defend the Japanese group’s investment strategy, which has been the subject of scrutiny and public mockery in recent quarters.

Son said his conglomerate’s holding has recovered to the pre-coronavirus outbreak levels. The firm has benefited from the rising value of Alibaba Group and its stake in Sprint, following the telecom operator’s merger with T-Mobile. Son said his firm has seen an internet rate of return (or IRR, a popular metric used by VC funds to demonstrate their performance) of 25%.

In a shareholder meeting today, he said he was worried that many people think that SoftBank is “finished” and are calling it “SoftPunku,” a colloquial used in Japan which means a broken thing. All combined, SoftBank’s shareholder value now stands at $218 billion, he said.

Son insisted that he was leaving the board of Alibaba Group, a position he has held since 2005, on good terms and that there hadn’t been any disagreements between him and Ma.

Son’s move follows Jack Ma, who co-founded Alibaba Group, leaving the board of SoftBank last month after assuming the position for 13 years. Son famously invested $20 million in Alibaba 20 years ago. Early this year, SoftBank still owned shares worth $100 billion in Alibaba.

A range of SoftBank’s recent investments has spooked the investment world. The firm, known for writing big checks, has publicly stated that its investment in ride-hailing giant Uber, office space manager WeWork, and a range of other startups has not provided the return it had hoped.

Several of these firms, including Oyo, a budget-lodging Indian startup, has moreover been hit hard by the pandemic.

Son, who has raised $20 billion by selling T-Mobile stake, said after factoring in other of his recent deals SoftBank had accumulated $35 billion or 80% of the total planned unloading of investments.

#alibaba, #alibaba-group, #asia, #jack-ma, #masayoshi-son, #oyo, #softbank, #softbank-group, #uber, #venture-capital, #vision-fund, #wework


Why are unicorns pushing back IPOs when the Nasdaq is near record highs?

The unicorns are still at it, Vision Fund 2 or no Vision Fund 2.

This week, Instacart announced that it has raised fresh capital at a valuation north of $13 billion. And, on the tail of that news item, DoorDash is looking to add more cash at a valuation that could stretch to a pre-money valuation that exceeds $15 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Both announcements make it plain that late-stage unicorns are still able to attract huge sums despite a putatively uncertain, if recently excitable IPO market.

It’s an interesting state of affairs, as the prices that super-late-stage unicorns are able to charge private investors push their valuations so high that only the largest and richest companies might be able to afford buying them. The result could be a closed M&A window that leaves only an exit hatch marked “IPO.”

Amazon, for example, paid around $13.7 billion for Whole Foods, a chain of U.S. grocery stores that the technology giant also uses as distribution points for parcel delivery. Instacart, the grocery delivery service, is now worth $13.7 billion as well.

As the private company’s final investors won’t want to merely break even on their investment, Instacart

#amazon, #chime, #doordash, #earnings, #extra-crunch, #finance, #food-delivery, #fundings-exits, #initial-public-offering, #instacart, #market-analysis, #robinhood, #startups, #the-exchange, #unicorn, #vision-fund, #whole-foods


Software’s meteoric rise: Have VCs gone too far?

In both the private and public markets, valuations for B2B software companies continue to climb. The average publicly traded cloud company trades at nearly 12x forward revenue, while in the private markets, investors are considerably more aggressive. With record levels of private capital, continued outperformance in the public markets and a zero interest rate environment, it can be hard to imagine an impetus for slowing down this runaway software train (even the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been successful!).

Yet, only four or five years ago, outsized exits in the enterprise sector were outliers. In 2016, we built the slide below (showing value at the time of IPO/acquisition) to demonstrate the dominance of large B2C exits. Back then, the 14 most significant venture-capital outcomes came from consumer companies, and the first enterprise outcome listed was LSI, a semiconductor company acquired for $6.5B in 2014.

Image Credits: Menlo Ventures/CB Insights

Times have changed. In 2019 alone, seven enterprise exits would make this chart (Slack, Qualtrics, Datadog, CrowdStrike, Cloudflare, 10x Genomics and Zoom). As I write this, 14 enterprise software businesses boast a market cap exceeding $20B.

To further illustrate this point, the two most valuable private venture-backed businesses (Stripe and SpaceX) are both enterprise businesses, and the top 25 most valuable companies are now nearly evenly split between consumer and enterprise. If this truly reflects the pipeline for the next generation of significant VC exits, we should expect the pendulum to continue to swing in favor of enterprise investing.

#10x-genomics, #cloud, #cloudflare, #column, #corporate-finance, #crowdstrike, #extra-crunch, #genomics, #market-analysis, #private-equity, #qualtrics, #saas, #software-as-a-service, #startups, #venture-capital, #venture-capital-firms, #vision-fund


China Roundup: SoftBank leads Didi’s $500M round and Meituan crosses $100B valuation

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. Last week, we had a barrage of news ranging from SoftBank’s latest bet on China’s autonomous driving sector to Chinese apps making waves in the U.S. (not TikTok).

China tech abroad

The other Chinese apps trending in America

TikTok isn’t the only app with a Chinese background that’s making waves in the U.S. A brand new short-video app called Zynn has been topping the iOS chart in America since May 26, just weeks after its debut. Zynn’s maker is no stranger to Chinese users: it was developed by short-video platform Kuaishou, the nemesis of Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese sister.

The killer feature behind Zynn’s rise is an incentive system that pays people small amounts of cash to sign up, watch videos or invite others to join, a common user acquisition tactic in the Chinese internet industry.

The other app that’s been trending in the U.S. for a while is News Break, a hyper-local news app founded by China’s media veteran Jeff Zheng, with teams in China and the U.S. It announced a heavy-hitting move last week as it onboards Harry Shum, former boss of Microsoft AI and Research Group, as its board chairman.

Alibaba looks for overseas influencers

The Chinese e-commerce giant is searching for live-streaming hosts in Europe and other overseas countries to market its products on AliExpress, its marketplace for consumers outside China. Live-streaming dancing and singing is nothing new, but the model of selling through live videos, during which consumers can interact with a salesperson or session host, has gained major ground in China as shops remained shut for weeks during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Q1 2020, China recorded more than 4 million e-commerce live-streaming sessions across various platforms, including Alibaba. Now the Chinese giant wants to replicate its success abroad, pledging that the new business model can create up to 100,000 new jobs for content creators around the world.

Oppo in Germany

Oppo announced last week its new European headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, a sign that the Chinese smartphone maker has gotten more serious on the continent. The move came weeks after it signed a distribution deal with Vodafone to sell its phones in seven European countries. Oppo was also one of the first manufacturers to launch a 5G commercial phone in Europe.

Chinese tech stocks return

We speculated last week that Hong Kong might become an increasingly appealing destination for U.S.-listed Chinese tech companies, many of which will be feeling the heat of tightening accounting rules targeting foreign companies. Two firms have already taken action. and NetEase, two of China’s biggest internet firms, have won approvals to list in Hong Kong, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

China tech back home

SoftBank doubles down on Didi

Massive losses in SoftBank’s first Vision Fund didn’t seem to deter the Japanese startup benefactor from placing bold bets. China’s ride-hailing giant Didi has completed an outsized investment of over $500 million in its new autonomous driving subsidiary. The financing led by SoftBank marked the single-largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector.

The capital will give Didi a huge boost in the race to win the autonomous driving race, where it is a relative latecomer. It’s competing with deep-pocketed players that are aggressively testing across the world, including the likes of Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, and startups such as Momenta, NIO and

Marriage of e-commerce and live streaming

Speaking of live-streaming e-commerce, two of China’s biggest internet companies have teamed up to exploit the new business model. JD, the online retailer that is Alibaba’s long-time archrival, has signed a strategic partnership with Kuaishou — yes, the maker of Zynn and TikTok’s rival in China.

The collaboration is part of a rising trend in the Chinese internet, where short video apps and e-commerce platforms pally up to explore new monetization avenues. The thinking goes that video platforms can leverage the trust that influencers instill in their audience to tout products.

Meituan hit record valuation

Despite reporting an unprofitable first quarter, Meituan, a leader in China’s food delivery sector, saw its shares reach a record high last week to bring its valuation to over $100 billion.

Notion got banned in China, briefly

Notion, the fast-growing work collaboration tool that recently hit a $2 billion valuation and has attracted a loyal following in China, was briefly banned in China last week. It’s still investigating the cause of the ban, but the timing noticeably coincided with China’s annual parliament meeting, which began last week after a two-month delay due to COVID-19. Internet regulation and censorship normally toughen around key political meetings in the country.

#alibaba, #alibaba-group, #asia, #china, #china-roundup, #didi, #dusseldorf, #germany, #harry-shum, #jd, #jd-com, #jeff-zheng, #kuaishou, #meituan, #netease, #softbank, #tc, #tiktok, #vision-fund, #vodafone


SoftBank pours $500M into Didi in China’s biggest autonomous driving round

The race to automate vehicles on China’s roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced this week an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Placing the bet — the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector — is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese telecom giant and startup benefactor that has also backed Uber.

The proceeds came through Softbank’s second Vision Fund, which was reportedly lagging in fundraising as its Fund I recorded massive losses in part due to the collapsing valuation of WeWork.

As China’s largest ride-hailing provider with mountains of traffic data, Didi clearly has an upper hand in developing robotaxis, which could help address driver shortage in the long term. But it was relatively late to the field. In 2018, Didi ranked eighth in kilometers of autonomous driving tests carried out in Beijing, far behind search giant Baidu which accounted for over 90% of the total mileage that year.

It’s since played aggressive catchup. Last August, it spun off its then three-year-old autonomous driving unit into an independent company to focus on R&D, building partnerships along the value chain, and promoting the futuristic technology to the government. The team now has a staff of 200 across its China and U.S. offices.

As an industry observer told me, “robotaxis will become a reality only when you have the necessary operational skills, technology and government support all in place.”

Didi is most famous for its operational efficiency, as facilitating safe and pleasant rides between drivers and passengers is no small feat. The company’s leadership hails from Alibaba’s legendary business-to-business sales team, also known as the “Alibaba Iron Army” for its ability in on-the-ground operation.

On the tech front, the subsidiary is headed by chief executive Zhang Bo, a Baidu veteran, and chief technology officer Wei Junqing, who joined last year from self-driving software company Aptiv.

The autonomous segment can also benefit from Didi’s all-encompassing reach in the mobility industry. For instance, it’s working to leverage the parent company’s smart charging networks, fleet maintenance service and insurance programs for autonomous fleets.

The fresh capital will enable Didi’s autonomous business to improve safety — an area that became a focal point of the company after two deadly accidents — and efficiency through conducting R&D and road tests. The financing will also allow it to deepen industry cooperation and accelerate the deployment of robotaxi services in China and abroad.

Over the years, Didi has turned to traditional carmakers for synergies in what it dubs the “D-Alliance,” which counts more than 31 partners. It has applied autonomous driving technology to vehicles from Lincoln, Nissan, Volvo, BYD, to name a few.

Didi has secured open-road testing licenses in three major cities in China as well as California. It said last August that it aimed to begin picking up ride-hailing passengers with autonomous cars in Shanghai in a few months’ time. It’s accumulated 300,000 kilometers of road tests in China and the U.S. as of last August.

#aptiv, #asia, #automation, #automotive, #beijing, #carsharing, #china, #didi, #robotics, #self-driving-car, #shanghai, #softbank, #tc, #transport, #transportation, #uber, #vision-fund


SoftBank’s Q1 2020 earnings presentation mixes comedy and drama

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

Today we’re digging into SoftBank’s latest earnings slides. Not only do they contain a wealth of updates and other useful information, but some of them are gosh-darn-freaking hilarious. We all deserve a bit of levity after the last few months.

The visual elements we quote below come from SoftBank’s reporting of its own results from its fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. Much of the deck is made up of financial reporting tables and other bits of stuff you don’t want to read. We’ve cut all that out and left the fun parts.

Before we dive in, please note that we are largely giggling at some slide design choices and only somewhat at the results themselves. We are certainly not making fun of people who’ve been impacted by layoffs and other such things that these slides’ results encompass.

But we are going to have some fun with how SoftBank describes how it views the world, because how can we not? Let’s begin.

Data, slides

TechCrunch has a number of folks parsing SoftBank’s deck this morning, looking to do serious work. That’s not our goal. Sure, this post will tell you things like the fact that there are 88 companies in the Vision Fund portfolio, and that when it comes to unrealized gains and losses, the portfolio has seen $13.4 billion in gains and $14.2 billion in losses. $4.9 billion of gains have been realized, mind you, while just $200 million of losses have had the same honor.

And this post will tell you that the “net blended [internal rate of return] for SoftBank Vision Fund investors is -1%.”

Hell, you probably also want to know that Uber was detailed as Vision Fund’s worst-performing public company, generating a $1.46 billion loss for the group. In contrast, Guardant Health is good for a $1.67 billion gain, while 2019 IPO Slack has been good for $605 million in profits. Those were the two best companies in the Vision Fund’s public portfolio.

But what you really want is the good stuff. So, shared by slide number, here you go:

Slide 11:

#coronavirus, #covid-19, #earnings, #extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #market-analysis, #softbank, #startups, #tc, #the-exchange, #venture-capital, #vision-fund


The first Vision Fund is officially done investing (and spent $100M every day of its existence)

There is a flurry of news out of SoftBank this morning, which announced its Fiscal Year 2019 (ending March 31, 2020) financial results overnight. It’s been a bad year for the Vision Fund, with huge losses at WeWork and Uber due to corporate incompetence, intrigue, and of course, COVID-19.

But buried a bit in the footnotes of its financial statements is a note that the first Vision Fund officially closed its doors to new investments way back in September 2019 — having exhausted all of its investible capital.

Per the notes, on September 12, 2019, the managing entity that owns the first Vision Fund determined that the fund had spent 85% of its capital, with the remainder reserved for follow-on investments and covering mandatory disbursements and fund management fees. That triggered the early ending of the fund, which was otherwise contractually allowed to invest until November 20, 2022.

To put that in perspective: the Vision Fund, which announced its first close on May 20, 2017, raised a total of $98.6 billion according to SoftBank’s documents.

Which means that the fund spent $83.8 billion on investments and fees in just about 845 days.

That’s just shy of $100m per day.

Every day.

(Including weekends.)

The company last year unveiled its plans to launch a second, even larger Vision Fund totaling $108 billion — but fundraising has been slow according to reports, and that’s not likely to change given some of the other top line numbers SoftBank unveiled today about its Vision.

The Vision Fund officially lost $17.4 billion in value according to SoftBank’s financials for the year ending this past March 31. The year before, SoftBank had registered a positive gain in the Vision Fund’s value of $12.8 billion, which means that the damage of this year’s performance has completely wiped out all gains the fund had made in the previous year.

But the real shock is the performance of the fund’s underlying portfolio companies. The Vision Fund currently has 88 active portfolio companies that have not exited. Of those, 19 investments saw a gain in combined value of $3.4 billion according to SoftBank, while 50 companies saw a decline in value aggregating to $20.7 billion in losses. 19 portfolio companies were left unchanged in value.

It’s not uncommon for early-stage funds to see huge loss ratios of this sort, but it is extraordinarily rare within the context of a late-stage fund. Considering that these valuations were almost certainly assessed before COVID-19 fully unleashed its damage on the global economy, having 57% of portfolio companies drop in value in just one year is insane, particularly given that most of them were headed toward some form of exit in the short-to-medium term given their stage.

That’s not to say that there aren’t bright lights in the portfolio, or some realized wins. But ultimately, a portfolio is only as good as its parts, and right now, those parts don’t look all that good.

#masayoshi-son, #softbank, #uber, #venture-capital, #vision-fund, #wework


Jack Ma to resign from SoftBank Group’s board of directors

SoftBank Group said today that Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba Group, will step down from its board after serving as a director for 13 years. Ma’s resignation will be effective on June 25, the date of SoftBank Group’s annual shareholder meeting.

The company did not give a reason for the resignation, but over the past year, Ma has been pulling back from business roles to focus on philanthropy. Last September, he resigned as Alibaba’s chairman, and is also expected to step down from its board at its annual general shareholder’s meeting this year.

Ma has a long business relationship with Softbank Group chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. SoftBank was one of Alibaba’s first major backers, investing a reported $20 million in 2000, one year after the e-commerce company was founded. As of a February 2020 SEC filing, it owned about 25.1% of Alibaba shares. Its stake in Alibaba is currently worth more than $100 billion, making it SoftBank Group’s most valuable investment.

SoftBank Group’s announcements were made a few hours before it is scheduled to release a dour first quarter earnings report. The company said last month it expects its $100 billion Vision Fund to lose about $16.5 billion, due largely to the near collapse of WeWork, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on other portfolio companies, including Uber and Oyo. It is also expected to post an annual operating loss of $12.5 billion.

To lower debt and increase its cash reserves, SoftBank Group said in March that it is selling or monetizing $41 billion of its assets and buying back $4.7 billion of its shares.

Ma is the only person out of SoftBank Group’s current 11 directors who is leaving. The company also said it nominated three new board directors for election at the shareholders meeting: SoftBank Group chief financial officer Yoshimitsu Goto; Cadence Design Systems chief executive Lip-Bu Tan; and Waseda Business School professor Yuko Kawamoto.

#jack-ma, #softbank-group, #tc, #vision-fund


Unicorn layoffs keep piling up as the economy gets worse

Earlier today a grip of new data presented a sharply negative picture of the American economy. And this afternoon, news broke that a trio of well-known, heavily-backed unicorns were cutting staff.

With stocks down as well, we’ve received negative signals from the private market, the public market and the economy as a whole in the same day. Let’s take a minute to set the macro stage, and then go over the latest cuts from Carta (first reported by Bloomberg), Zume (Business Insider broke that particular story) and Opendoor (via The Information).

Economic malaise

The backdrop for today’s cuts is a faltering American economy. A glance at recent news is sufficient. In the last few hours, home builder confidence recorded the “biggest drop in history,” while retail sales fell 8.7% in March, what CNBC noted was “the most ever in government data,” and CNN Business reported that American factories’ output fell 5.4% in March, “their steepest one-month slowdown since 1946.”

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that we’ve seen unicorn layoffs all year. In January the news was Vision Fund-backed companies cutting burn to skate closer to profitability. Then, the first round of COVID-19-forced staff cuts landed at big companies; firms like Bird and TripActions slashed staff as their companies were rent by a slowdown in their core operations by the pandemic and its related economic and social changes.

Slimmer cuts at smaller companies have happened on a nearly chronic basis, something that TechCrunch has covered, as well.

Today, however, saw three cuts from three unicorns (private companies worth $1 billion or more) that have long been objects of TechCrunch’s attention. So, let’s talk about them briefly:

  • Opendoor, a San Francisco-based home sales-focused startup with backing from SoftBank, announced deep cuts to its staffing today. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, the company’s CEO Eric Wu said that 35% of its employee base would be eliminated to “ensure that we can continue to deliver on our mission.” The CEO also said that exiting staff would get paid for eight weeks and “reimbursement of 16 weeks of health insurance coverage.” Wu is also donating his 2020 salary to a fund to support staff. Opendoor was most recently valued at $3.8 billion in a $300 million funding round announced last March.
  • Carta, a San Francisco-based private company equity service platform, announced cuts worth 16% of its staff, or 161 roles, according to a memo that the company shared publicly. Previously eShares, Carta has grown from a provider of equity management for small private companies into a larger, broader service and software play supporting yet-private firms. Carta most recently raised $300 million at a $1.7 billion valuation last May.
  • And finally, Zume. Zume didn’t respond to a request for comment by the time of publication and did not post a public note that we could find. Still, Business Insider reports that the company is cutting 200 more staff after earlier 2020 personnel reductions. The firm will be left with around 100 employees, working on compostable boxes. Zume last raised $375 million at a valuation of just under $1.9 billion (post-money) in November 2018.

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the cuts. Heck, I helped break Modsy layoffs recently with TechCrunch’s Natasha Mascarenhas, and we were first to the BounceX cuts as well. It’s a rough, bad economy, and it’s harming growth-oriented companies that like startup unicorns.

More when we have it, probably sooner than we’d like to report.

#business, #coronavirus, #covid-19, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #equity-management, #eshares, #fundings-exits, #layoffs, #opendoor, #personnel, #san-francisco, #softbank, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #tripactions, #unicorn, #vision-fund, #zume-pizza


VC activity goes upside down as seed deals fall and mega-rounds rise

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

Earlier today, PwC and CB Insights dropped a sheaf of data concerning the global and domestic Q1 venture capital market, something we’ll be yanking data points from here and there for a few days. What matters is that our continuing hunt to understand what’s going on with VC and its investment habits (some of our recent work here and here) can take another step forward today.

We’re talking about three trends this morning: The sharp decline in Q1 U.S. seed rounds, how mega-rounds ($100 million and larger funding events) are holding up the sky for domestic venture totals, and what March might tell us about what’s going on with COVID-19 and VC activity today.

Ready? This is going to be quick and easy and fun.

So much for Seed

According to the report, domestic Seed rounds, in slow decline since peaks in 2017, have sharply fallen since Q3 2019.

#corporate-finance, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #fundings-exits, #money, #pricewaterhousecoopers, #private-equity, #pwc, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital, #vision-fund


SoftBank’s Troubles Deepen With Warning of $16.7 Billion Writedown

The Japanese conglomerate, which bet big on tech start-ups with its $100 billion Vision Fund, also expects its first annual loss in 15 years.

#computers-and-the-internet, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #softbank-corporation, #son-masayoshi, #start-ups, #venture-capital, #vision-fund


SoftBank expects $24 billion in losses from Vision Fund, WeWork, and OneWeb investments

The Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group said it would lose a staggering $24 billion on investments made through its Vision Fund and bets on the co-working real estate company, WeWork, and satellite telecommunications company, OneWeb.

Ultimately, the company expects the losses to help generate a $7 billion total loss for the technology giant for the year as its ambitious bets on early stage companies come up short.

Over the past two years SoftBank and its founder Masayoshi Son have staked billions of (other people’s) dollars and its own fortunes on a vision that investments in machine learning technologies, robotics, and next generation telecommunications would reap of hundreds of billions in financial rewards.

While that was the vision that Son and his team sold, the reality was multiple billions of dollars invested into real estate investment plays like WeWork, OpenDoor, and Compass, and companies with direct-to-consumer merchandising plays like Brandless, pet supply businesses like Wag, and the food delivery business DoorDash. Add the hotel chain Oyo to the mix and the investment selection from the Vision Fund looks even less visionary.

Over the past year, several of its investments ran aground. Though none of them imploded as spectacularly as WeWork — whose valuation was slashed from over $40 billion to around $8 billion — many have struggled.

Brandless went bust earlier this year, and real estate investments in Compass along with investments in travel and tourism-related businesses like Oyo, have suffered in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak which has shuttered economies around the world.

While many SoftBank and SoftBank Vision Fund bets were made into companies that have failed, seem to be on that path, or perhaps may struggle in the economic downturn, not every wage is a clunker. The Vision Fund put lots of capital into Slack before it went public, and the company has caught a huge tailwind in the remote-work boom that we’re currently seeing in light of COVID-19.

Perhaps the most visionary of the SoftBank investments (and one not included in the Vision Fund) OneWeb, too, collapsed under the weight of its own capital-intensive vision for a network of satellites providing high-speed global telecommunications services. Zume, SoftBank’s robotic pizza delivery business, also folded.

The only reason why all of these gambles haven’t completely destroyed SoftBank is that the company still has a cash cow in its Alibaba stake and a relatively strong core business in telecommunications and semiconductor holdings.

“The difference in income before income tax is, in addition to the above, mainly due to the expected recording of non-operating loss totaling approximately JPY 800 billion for fiscal 2019 on investments held outside of SoftBank Vision Fund, including The We Company (WeWork) and WorldVu Satellites Limited (OneWeb),” the company said in a statement. “This will be partially offset by the gain relating to the settlement of variable prepaid forward contract using Alibaba shares recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 and the dilution gain from changes in equity interest in Alibaba recorded in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, as well as an expected year-on-year increase in income on equity method investments related to Alibaba.”

Ultimately, it seems that Son was too enamored of the mythology he’d created around himself as a maverick and a visionary. To the detriment of his company’s outside shareholders and investors.

As Bloomberg noted in an op-ed earlier today:

Son’s insistence that startups grow faster than their founders planned, and strong-arm them into taking more money than they might have wanted, has turned into a burden. And that’s become a huge liability to investors in the Vision Fund and SoftBank, too.

By throwing cash around, dozens of startups became addicted to spending instead of building fiscal discipline into their business models. For years, it seemed like a sound strategy. By having more money than rivals, SoftBank-backed companies could win market share by offering bigger incentives, taking out more ads and luring the best talent.

Today, SoftBank has a major stake in sector leaders like Uber Technologies Inc., WeWork, Grab Holdings Inc. and Oyo. But climbing to number one doesn’t mean being profitable.

#alibaba, #alibaba-group, #companies, #compass, #doordash, #food-delivery, #fundings-exits, #masayoshi-son, #oneweb, #opendoor, #oyo, #real-estate-investment, #semiconductor, #softbank-group, #softbank-vision-fund, #tc, #telecommunications, #vision-fund, #vodafone, #wework


Equity Monday: Two early-stage rounds, grocery delivery and SoftBank’s bill

Good morning friends, and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a short-form audio hit to kickstart your week.

Before we jump into today’s show, don’t forget that the long-form Equity that started in the unicorn era and continue in today’s changed world still drops on Friday. We had a blast last week, so make sure to catch up.

That said, there was a lot to go over this morning, so let’s get into what we had to discuss:

  • Global spend patterns are changing, helping some startups and slowing others. But notable in the mix is how well grocery delivery is doing; if the change will be enough to turn uncertain bets like Instacart into sure things, however, is not yet clear.
  • Earnings are finally nearly here. We’ll see the big names start to disclose results next week. In the next three weeks or so we’ll hear from Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix and Spotify. The results will help us understand how the market is doing; and, by proxy, how startups are performing.
  • Quoting from our script this morning: “Would it be great to know how startups are doing without resorting to our chronic use of public proxies? Yes. Any startup who wants to kick off that trend can send in reports of how their Q1 went and what they expect in Q2 and the other two quarters of 2020 to That’s probably the easiest way to get your company on the show, so, please do write in with specifics.”
  • We took a look at the latest rounds from Kargo and
  • Finally, SoftBank’s huge Vision Fund bill is coming due. I almost can’t believe these numbers. What a mess.

And that’s the show for today. Stay safe, and we’ll be back Friday morning to cap off whatever this week winds up becoming.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 AM PT and Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#apple, #equity, #equity-podcast, #facebook, #fundings-exits, #instacart, #microsoft, #microsoft-windows, #netflix, #operating-systems, #softbank, #software, #spotify, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #techcrunch, #turn, #vision-fund