SoftBank invests $215 million in education start-up Kahoot

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., reacts during a dialog session with Jack Ma, former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., not pictured, at Tokyo Forum 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON — SoftBank has invested $215 million in Norwegian education start-up Kahoot, taking a 9.7% stake in the company, as demand for online learning platforms skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oslo-based firm said Tuesday it had agreed to sell 43 million new shares at a price of 46 Norwegian krone — or about $5 — per share to SoftBank. It plans to use funds raised from the deal to fuel growth through new partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions, CEO Eilert Hanoa told CNBC.

“It’s all about the general switch in mindset from digital tools being a nice-to-have additional set of features in

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Traders say the Softbank ‘whale’ may be back as options activity spikes for Big Tech stocks

Wall Street traders said that an unusual spike in call options on Thursday shows that Japan’s Softbank may once again be betting on large tech stocks, CNBC’s David Faber reports. 

Multiple sources told Faber that there was $200 million spent on Thursday morning on call options for Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, with the investment bank being the most likely buyer. 

“A number of sources in the derivative markets on major trading markets noting that significant call buying, and they all point to Softbank as being behind it,” Faber said on “Squawk on the Street.” 

Reports by the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and other outlets identified Softbank as the Nasdaq “whale” whose massive options activity led to a boom for major tech stocks in August. The news led to a sell-off in Softbank’s stock in early September as investors worried about the new strategy for the bank and its

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SoftBank: technology evangelist or hedge fund?

In fairy tales, a crystal ball can be many things: it can reveal the future, but it can also be a malevolent charm that drives peaceful villagers insane with greed. The former rather than the latter is what Masayoshi Son had in mind in 2016 when, after paying $32bn to buy Arm — the most aggressive gamble of his life at the time — he described the UK chip designer as “my crystal ball”. 

As an investor obsessed for decades with the evolution of communications and software, the SoftBank founder had just bought a company through which he believed he could see the future of every trend in computing, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

The idea that he possessed magical insight became a formidable tool for one of Asia’s greatest salesmen. It was a pitch that allowed Mr Son to entice billions of dollars from Middle Eastern investors

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AI Drug R&D Startup XtalPi Announces Over 300 Million Series C Investment Led by SoftBank Vision Fund, PICC Capital, and Morningside

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SHENZHEN, China, Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — XtalPi, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) drug discovery and development technology company, today announces an oversubscribed Series C funding of $318.8 million co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2i, PICC Capital, and Morningside. The new round of financing is joined by over a dozen global investment companies in banking and technology, with follow-on investments from existing investors Tencent, Sequoia China, China Life, and SIG.

XtalPi Logo (PRNewsfoto/XtalPi Inc.)
XtalPi Logo (PRNewsfoto/XtalPi Inc.)

With the new round of funding, XtalPi will bring the power of quantum physics, AI, and almost limitless cloud resources to propel research scientists towards drug candidates with tailored pharmaceutical profiles. Its platform takes the unique approach of combining physics-based and data-driven models to comprehensively address all drug properties relevant to progression into clinical studies. By integrating the predictions of its virtual R&D platform with real-world data from modern laboratories, XtalPi

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SoftBank brings food service robot to labour-strapped Japan

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank’s robotics arm said on Monday it will bring a food service robot developed by California-based Bear Robotics to Japan as restaurants grapple with labour shortages and seek to ensure social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The robot named Servi, which has layers of trays and is equipped with 3D cameras and Lidar sensors for navigation, will launch in January, SoftBank Group Corp said.

Servi will cost 99,800 yen ($950) per month excluding tax on a three year plan.

The launch leverages SoftBank’s long experience in bringing overseas technology to Japan but reflects the shift away from CEO Masayoshi Son’s earlier focus on humanoid robots.

Servi has been tested by Japanese restaurant operators, including Seven & i Holdings at its Denny’s chain, as the sector grapples with an aging workforce and deepening labour shortages.

SoftBank’s humanoid Pepper robot became the face of the company

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