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Venture Capital

SoftBank Vision Fund Looks to Trim Staff, Scrutinize Money-Losing Investments

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is limping in the wake of struggles by WeWork and Uber.

It’s no surprise that the giant tech fund is scrambling to shore up some of its existing investments and adding scrutiny to new ones. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Vision Fund has balked at potential investments like robot hamburger maker Creator. (It already has an investment in a startup whose robots make pizza.)

It’s also pushing for its existing slate of startups to start generating cash. That’s a tall order considering its rash of investments in low-margin sectors like real estate and transportation. Fair, a car subscription startup that partners with Uber, laid off 40% of its staff Thursday.

On top of it all, the Vision Fund is looking at small staff cuts of its own. Employees have  churned particularly quickly through the part of the organization headed by Jeff Housenbold that funded some apparent duds like Brandless and Wag. 

The pressure is on for some of the startups in SoftBank’s portfolio that still have some shine on them, such as DoorDash and Flexport. Otherwise, what looks precarious right now could be a disaster for the Vision Fund.  


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