SoftBank's big bets in 2021: retail & consumer and fintechs

The Japanese group has already sealed 117 deals this year and is on track to end 2021 with 197 investments, points out a report by CB Insights

SoftBank's big bets in 2021: retail & consumer and fintechs
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After 2020 with significant losses, SoftBank has already achieved record profit in 2021 as it moves toward ending the year with a tripled investment volume, a report compiled by CB Insights showed.

Despite last year’s losses – in the fiscal year ending March 2020, SoftBank reported a loss of nearly $18 billion from its first Vision Fund, launched in 2017 -, SoftBank saw its profit grow to $46 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2021, while the Vision Fund reached $100 billion.

This firepower has turned the Japanese group into the second largest investor of unicorns in the world. In Latin America, there are at least ten unicorns invested by SoftBank: Mexico’s Kavak, Colombia’s Rappi, and Brazil’s Mercado Bitcoin, Loft, Loggi, Creditas, VTEX, Madeira Madeira, Gympass and unico.

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In 2021, the CB Insights report shows, SoftBank has already broken the record in the number of investments made: there are already 117 deals, compared to 63 done in 2020 and 66 in 2019. In addition, the group is said to have deals already in the pipeline that could bring the number of deals to 197 by the end of this year.

The investments have also changed in recent years. According to the report, SoftBank has invested more in smaller, early-stage businesses, seeking to diversify its portfolio and build an ecosystem of disruptive startups.

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CB Insights gathered the Japanese group’s investments made in 2021 so far. The top two sectors were Retail & Consumer and Fintechs, but there were also investments in Enterprise (24 companies), Healthcare (16), Mobility (3), and Logistics (3), among others.

Retail & Consumer

35 companies in the retail and consumer sector have already received investments from SoftBank in 2021. It is the sector with the largest volume of investments so far.

The Retail & Consumer sector encompasses areas such as food and grocery delivery, including delivery apps and dark kitchens; e-commerce, including a wide variety of products, from hotel accommodations to even home furniture, such as the Brazilian Madeira Madeira; companies focused on health and wellness, such as the also Brazilian Gympass; and edtechs, an area that greatly accelerated during the pandemic.

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26 companies in the fintech sector raised funds with SoftBank this year. The group’s main bets were in financial services companies for other companies (B2B); in businesses focused on crypto-activities and digital currencies, including the Brazilian companies Hashdex and Mercado Bitcoin; and in digital banks.

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