Soft Bank to invest about $5-10 bn in India till 2022

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New Delhi: Soft- Bank, which is among prominent investors in the Indian tech startup ecosystem, could invest another $5-10 billion in the country in 2022 if it finds the right companies at the right valuation, according to SoftBank Investment Advisers CEO Rajeev Misra.

Speaking at Bloomberg’s sixth ‘India Economic Forum 2021’, Misra said Softbank had been investing in India for over a decade and has pumped in roughly $14 billion over the past six years.

“So far this year, we have invested $3 billion and are looking to invest in more. It’s not in three or four companies, we have invested in 24 companies in India.

“So, it’s not that there is a feeding frenzy for three or four assets. There are tech companies, education, e-commerce to Ola Electric to fintech,” he said today.

Misra noted that like public markets, the private capital market is robust and there is a lot of private capital flowing into India.

Many of the Indian start-ups that SoftBank has invested in are en route to their IPOs, including PolicyBazaar, Delhivery, and Oyo. Companies like Ola are also reportedly looking at approaching the market regulator SEBI for listing in the coming months.

Paytm, another SoftBank- backed company, saw bids for its IPO (initial public offering) close today.

“If we find the right companies, we could invest another $5 billion to $10 billion. If we find the right opportunities at the right valuation.

“We came in and invested again in Flipkart, which we had exited in 2018. A lot of investments we have done over the past three years, we will be putting new money into them (as follow-on investment) as they raise new capital,” he stated.

Misra explained that the quantum of capital being raised by founders now is not as high as a few years ago. SoftBank has written large cheques for companies like Paytm and OYO in the past.

“They’re (founders) raising $150-300 million. Unlike two-three years ago, when we could deploy in a billion dollars, the ticket size has come down dramatically. So to invest $3-4 billion, it would require like investing in 15 companies,” he added

Talking about the sectors of interest, Misra said Soft Bank has invested in a range of sectors-right from edtech to fintech and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies.

“I think fintech is the big gest opportunity in India because India is underbanked. We had Paytm and PolicyBazaar, we are looking at a few other fintech companies, because financial inclusion is a must in India.

“It was not a mistake, Walmart bought an 80 percent stake in Flipkart and we felt we didn’t know how the company would look with Walmart owning 80 percent of Flipkart.

“We followed the progress of Flipkart and got convinced that it is going to be one of the two major players along with Amazon in India, and we went back and we invested earlier this year,” he said.

Talking about Oyo’s business, Misra said the hospitality company has cut costs significantly and has been able to manage the business well, especially during the pandemic.

Source- PTI