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SoftBank Venture Arm Rebrands, Announces First Southeast Asia Office

SoftBank Ventures Korea, an investment subsidiary of the Japanese tech giant led by maverick CEO Masayoshi Son, has re-branded for the new year as it increases its focus on Southeast Asia and China.

It’s now called SoftBank Ventures Asia, reflecting how its operational presence has grown beyond South Korea in recent years.

Launched in 2000, the firm initially focused on tech venture investments in that country, though it soon began backing startups farther afield.It currently operates out of Seoul, Beijing, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv. As part of its re-branding and expansion, SoftBank Ventures Asia will open new offices in Shanghai and Singapore – its first base in Southeast Asia.

The firm said it is seeking to hire investment professionals in both its new locations.

“I am excited by the opportunity to enhance our presence in the early stage,” said JP Lee, SoftBank Ventures Asia’s managing partner and CEO. “Our vision is to support promising young entrepreneurs by offering unparalleled access to SoftBank’s community, resources, and network.”

With a portfolio largely focused on artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and robotics, SoftBank Ventures Asia has more than US$1.1 billion in assets under management, having invested in over 250 companies in 10 countries.

One of portfolio companies in Southeast Asia is Indonesian e-commerce unicorn Tokopedia. Vision Fund, another SoftBank-affiliated vehicle, co-led Tokopedia’s recent US$1.1 billion funding round with Chinese tech titan Alibaba. – Tech in Asia

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