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The Problem for SoftBank’s New Vision Fund

Signs that the global economy is in trouble are mounting, yet here in Silicon Valley startups and venture capital funds are still raising record amounts. I feel the disconnect more than ever and especially when thinking about SoftBank and its Vision Fund. The mega fund, whose second vintage is slated to come in at more than $100 billion, is the poster child for the exuberance and opportunity of this era. Whether it is more exuberance or opportunity—well, that’s the big question. 

For those of you who haven’t been following the details, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, built his fortune investing in telecommunications, Yahoo and Alibaba. Now, he believes that AI is taking over the world and that he can make another fortune off the trend while defining his legacy as the greatest technology investor of all time. Masa, who only deals in hyperbole, has tapped his friends—sovereign wealth funds from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan, Apple, Microsoft and more to help foot the bill through the fund, which has an incredibly complicated structure that relies on a lot of debt.

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