TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SoftBank Group Corp. (“SBG”) today announced the launch of the SoftBank
Innovation Fund, the largest-ever technology fund focused exclusively on
the fast-growing Latin American market, and the creation of the SoftBank
Latin America Local Hub, a new operating group that will partner with
SoftBank portfolio companies helping them enter Latin America, navigate
the local markets and broaden their geographic reach in the region.
Marcelo Claure will serve as Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank Latin
America, responsible for overseeing the new fund, its investments and
operations. Mr. Claure will also continue to serve in his current roles
as Chief Operating Officer of SoftBank Group Corp., Chief Executive
Officer of SoftBank Group International and Executive Chairman of Sprint
SBG has committed an initial $2 billion to the SoftBank Innovation Fund
and will serve as the General Partner. No decision has been made as to
the location of the SoftBank Innovation Fund’s headquarters.
Masayoshi Son, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of SBG, said, “Latin
America is on the cusp of becoming one of the most important economic
regions in the world, and we anticipate significant growth in the
decades ahead. SBG plans to invest in entrepreneurs throughout Latin
America and use technology to help address the challenges faced by many
emerging economies with the goal of improving the lives of millions of
Latin Americans. I am grateful to our Chief Operating Officer Marcelo
Claure for leading this initiative, in addition to his other
responsibilities at SBG.”
“Growing up in Latin America I witnessed firsthand the creativity and
passion of the people,” said Mr. Claure. “There is so much innovation
and disruption taking place in the region, and I believe the business
opportunities have never been stronger. The SoftBank Innovation Fund
will become a major investor in transformative Latin American companies
that are poised to redefine their industries and create new economic
opportunities for millions of people.”
Rajeev Misra, Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank Investment Advisers,
said, “Latin America presents significant opportunities for SoftBank
Group, and the Vision Fund will have the ability to co-invest alongside
the SoftBank Innovation Fund. Marcelo and team will offer invaluable
expertise to help Latin American companies scale their operations,
benefit from the greater SoftBank ecosystem and grow into global market
The SoftBank Innovation Fund will invest throughout Latin America,
including in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Industries
of particular focus for the Fund in the region include e-commerce,
digital financial services, healthcare, mobility and insurance, among
The unique traits and rapid economic development of the Latin American
market, coupled with the fact that it represents 10% of the world’s
population and 8% of the world’s GDP (two times the GDP of India and
half that of China), present significant growth opportunities for rapid
technology deployment at scale and disruptive innovation. Examples
Rapidly Growing Middle Class: Since 2000, over 50 million
people in the region have entered the middle class, generating
increased disposable income.
Internet and Smartphone Penetration: A drastic increase in
Internet and smartphone penetration has led to a digitization of daily
life; Latin America’s more than 375 million Internet and 250 million
smartphone users outpaces the United States.
Consumer Behavior: A major shift in consumer behavior to a
focus on online shopping; retail e-commerce sales have grown from
$29.8 billion in 2015 to $54.0 billion in 2018.
Digitalization of Financial Services: Banking activities are
increasingly being handled online, but approximately 70% (400 million
people) of Latin Americans remain unbanked or underbanked.
Transportation Infrastructure: The region suffers from severely
underdeveloped public transport; from 1992 through 2010, the region
invested only 0.5% of GDP in transportation, compared to the global
average of 1.6%.
Dense Urban Areas: The region is highly urbanized, with 79% of
the population living in urban areas, compared to 48% in China and 29%
Healthcare Solutions: Services are fragmented and incidences of
non-communicable diseases are expected to rise; new cases of cancer
per year and the number of people suffering from diabetes are expected
to grow by 66% and 60%, respectively, from 2012 to 2030.
SBG believes these factors contribute to the creation of an attractive
market for emerging technology companies and entrepreneurs, and the need
for patient capital to support them on their journeys.
About the SoftBank Group
The SoftBank Group is a global technology player that aspires to drive
the Information Revolution. The SoftBank Group is comprised of the
holding company SoftBank Group Corp. (TOKYO: 9984) and its global
portfolio of companies, which includes advanced telecommunications,
Internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology
providers. In September 2016, Arm Limited, the world’s leading
semiconductor IP company, joined the SoftBank Group. SoftBank Group
Corp. is invested in the SoftBank Vision Fund, which plans to invest up
to $100 billion in the global businesses and technologies that the
SoftBank Vision Fund believes will enable the next stage of the
Information Revolution. To learn more, please visit www.softbank.com.