"SoftBank Group Corp has expanded its appetite for early-stage startups, with a venture capital unit set to launch its biggest fund for early investments as it opens new offices in Asia.
The global fund from newly rebranded Seoul-based SoftBank Ventures Asia will be worth as much as $500 million and could launch next month, its CEO JP Lee told Reuters in an interview.
By contrast, the average size of similar funds raised last year was just over $100 million, according to data provider Preqin.
SoftBank, South Korea’s National Pension Service as well as other companies and asset management firms will provide funding, Lee said, declining to provide further details on investors.
“It’s an important signal within the SoftBank Group that SoftBank thinks early-stage investments are important and will make continued efforts on them,” said Lee.
The move comes as SoftBank rapidly transforms beyond telecoms into a tech investing giant."
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