TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank unveiled a management reshuffle on Monday, appointing investments head Nikesh Arora as president and naming him as a potential successor to CEO Masayoshi Son, as the telecoms conglomerate steps up its overseas expansion. The move comes as Son and SoftBank are battling to make their 2013 acquisition of US carrier Sprint Corp for more than $20 billion profitable. A sluggish Japanese economy, though, has forced the company to increasingly look overseas for growth.
Tokyo-based ecommerce startup Origami today announced a JPY 1.6 billion (US$13.3 million) series B funding round led by SoftBank Group, Credit Saison, and angel investor Makoto Takano. In addition to the new investment, Origami has also partnered with SoftBank Group and Credit Saison to boost its online-to-offline (O2O) focused mobile shopping experience.
The Indonesian ecommerce joint venture between postal service SingPost and mobile device retailer Trikomsel will go live some time in May, according to Trikomsel president and CEO Sugiono Wiyono. Previously a somewhat mysterious project, we now know the ecommerce firm will start with selling smartphones, clothing, and sports gear. Following a move by Lippo Group’s MatahariMall to offer online-to-offline service in which customers can order online, then pay and pick up goods at a physical store, Trikomsel will leverage its own nationwide network of nearly 1,000 brick-and-mortar shops in the same way.
Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston was in Tokyo this morning to announce the firm’s partnership with SoftBank Commerce and Service (SoftBank C&S). Speaking at the New Economy Summit, Houston also announced that Dropbox has surpassed 10 million Japanese users since opening a Tokyo office last October. Houston explained that the partnership with SoftBank C&S – Japan’s largest information and communications technology distributor – aims to bring Dropbox for Business to one million Japanese users over the next five years.
MUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Indian handset maker Micromax Informatics for up to $1 billion, two people aware of the discussions said. The investment would value Micromax, an unlisted provider of affordable smartphones that competes with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, at around $5 billion, the people said. They did not want to be named because the talks aren’t public.
MUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20% stake in Indian handset maker Micromax Informatics for up to $1 billion, two people aware of the discussions said. The investment would value Micromax, an unlisted provider of affordable smartphones that competes with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, at around $5 billion, the people said. They did not want to be named because the talks aren’t public.
For viewers of Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, Mumbai’s vast Dharavi slum is a byword for poverty, but to online retailer Snapdeal.com it is a battleground for new customers and, it hopes, a source of better margins. The company’s aspirations are backed up by serious investment from the likes of Japan’s Softbank Corp, which ploughed $627 million into Snapdeal last October, and could soon get a boost from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which is in talks for another cash investment, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.
On Friday, while Asia was sleeping, Mountain View-based startup Quixey announced it closed a US$60 million funding round led by Alibaba, with participation from Softbank, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, and others. Re/code first reported the then-upcoming round back in February, so Quixey’s announcement marks the company’s official confirmation.
Pertino, a company reinventing networking for the mobile and cloud era, today announced the launch of a Japanese sales channel for its SDN-powered cloud networking service through a distribution partnership with SoftBank Commerce & Services Corp. (SoftBank C&S). This is the first major partnership in Japan and the second inked under the company’s BlueSky Partner Program—launched in September 2014—following last quarter’s announcement of an alliance with Dell to integrate and resell Pertino’s Cloud Network Engine service within the Dell Cloud Marketplace.
Today, Indonesian jobs information site Qerja announced that after just eight months in operation, the company has secured a series A funding round from the SB ISAT Fund, a collaboration between SoftBank and Indosat. The amount of the round was not disclosed, but Qerja is calling it “one of the highest Series A valuations of any Southeast Asian startup.” The round, it says, puts Qerja at an eight digit valuation. Previously, Qerja was supported by a seed round raised from Mountain Kejora Ventures (formerly known as Mountain SEA Ventures).
India’s startups have been mostly looking West for investment cash, but this is changing. Last year was an inflection point when Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank, visited India and announced plans to pump US$10 billion into India’s “information revolution.” Two-thirds of the first billion from SoftBank went to Snapdeal, to help it compete with ecommerce leaders Flipkart and Amazon. And nearly a quarter of a billion went to taxi app Ola to take on Uber.
Speaking today at his company’s fiscal year 2014 earnings report briefing in Tokyo, SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son revealed that Pepper, the telco’s personal humanoid robot, won’t be sold to consumers until later this summer. When Pepper was unveiled last June, Son stated that the robot would be sold to consumers in February 2015. “We are going to sell Pepper to developers only in February,” Son told the audience. “We haven’t reached a final decision yet but that’s the direction we’re discussing now.
SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc. (“SIMI”) and GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd (“GrabTaxi”) today announced a definitive agreement under which SoftBank Corp. will invest US$250 million in GrabTaxi, making it the largest investor in GrabTaxi. Launched in 2012, GrabTaxi has grown to become the largest and most widely used mobile taxi booking application provider in Southeast Asia.
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Oct. 31, 2014 — PRZen — Softtek, founder of the nearshore industry and leading global IT services provider dedicated to maximizing the value of applications, announced today the opening of a new Global Delivery Center (GDC) in the city of Fortaleza in the northeast region of Brazil. The facility has been built in partnership with local university Universidade de Fortaleza (Unifor), as well as support from governments of the city of Fortaleza and the state of Ceará.
Japanese telecommunications and Internet company SoftBank is planning to invest US$10 billion in India, the country’s government said after meetings with the company’s chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. The SoftBank head met with India’s leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad during a visit this week to the country.
TOKYO: Food giant Nestle said on Wednesday (Oct 29) that its Japan unit would hire 1,000 robots as sales clerks at stores across the country. The first batch of the robots – a chatty humanoid called Pepper – will report to work by the end of this year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines. “From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” said Nestle Japan spokeswoman Miki Kano. “We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”
Japanese telecom giant SoftBank today invested US$627 million in Indian ecommerce site Snapdeal, and US$210 million in taxi app Ola, formerly Olacabs. The investments into Snapdeal and Ola are part of a whopping US$10 billion earmarked by SoftBank to pump into India’s booming ecommerce, telecom, and aviation industries. Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of SoftBank, shared this investment plan when he met Indian prime minister Narendra Modi as well as IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi on Monday.
In what appears to be the largest round for an Indonesian startup on public record, online marketplace startup Tokopedia announced its approximate US$100 million financing round, led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (SIMI). Sequoia Capital joined in as a follow on investor. With this round of funding, SoftBank and Sequoia Capital representatives will join the company’s board of directors. The funding also comes as Sequoia Capital’s first investment in Indonesia.
Japan’s Softbank plans to acquire Korean TV show portal DramaFever, according to a press release published on Business Wire . The five-year-old startup has raised US$12 million up to this point, some of that coming from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. The site has a wide range of international TV shows, but is mostly known for its Korean dramas.
Softbank, Japan’s robot-loving telco, today announced a business tie-up with Tokyo-based ad tech startup Geniee . Starting next month, Softbank will launch a supply-side advertising platform (SSP), in collaboration with Geniee, which the wireless carrier hopes will give a boost to its internet advertising business. As part of the deal, Softbank will purchase a minority stake in Geniee that accounts for 32.9 percent of the startup’s outstanding shares.