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Billionaire Taizo Son would fund on crazy startups and without the need of any biz plan


Taizo Son, a visionary serial entrepreneur, is a Japanese billionaire & investor. He has founded several companies and is the CEO of Mistletoe, a company that he founded in 2013. He is also chairman of mobile gaming company GungHo Online Entertainment, which he founded in 2002. He also founded a startup accelerator in Japan in 2010 named Movida Japan.

He is also the Chairman of Visionnaire Ventures since 2013. Taizo Son whose brother is the founder of Japanese internet company Softbank. Softbank has invested hugely in South Asia, including those of the Indian unicorns.

So far, two of Softbank’s biggest India investments have taken the brunt of write-downs: Jasper Infotech, the parent company of e-retail giant Snapdeal; and Ola, India’s largest ride-hailing startup, which is owned by ANI Technologies. In 2014, Softbank invested $697 million in the former and $210 million in the latter, and has continued to sink money into both companies, which are also positioning themselves to raise more funds and take on American rivals like Amazon and Uber.

Two years ago, Softbank announced plans to invest $10 billion in India by 2024, and since then has pumped $2 billion into internet-related projects and solar energy efforts in the country. Founder Masayoshi Son, one of Japan’s richest men, has also said he hopes to provide 1 million free electric cars to Ola drivers to help India’s clean energy initiatives.

Outside of India, Softbank performed well in 2016: The company reported net income of ¥857.4 billion ($7.6 billion) for April to December 2016, nearly doubling its profit in the same period of 2015. Much of that increase can be attributed to its sale of Alibaba shares. A recovery by US cell service provider Sprint, in which Softbank has an 83% stake, also contributed to earnings.

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Taizo is someone who thinks “Sky is the limit”. He has recently announced to fund crazy ideas, that would impact our ecosystem rather than investing in short-term goals.

( This section is an excerpt from Tech In Asia’s Publication, interviewed by Terence Lee)

In a recent telephonic interview with Tech In Asia‘s editor Terence Lee, he said that..

“I’m not interested in feasible business plans but amazing ideas and out-of-the-box thinking that’ll impact the world. If you show me your business plan, I’d say: throw it away!”

Instead, Son scrutinizes two things: Does the startup have amazing technology ? Are the founders truly passionate about their idea ? This will help them endure tough times, he believes.

He gauges passion by asking a series of questions: What’s your background ? Why did you start this company ? Why do you think this is your calling ? And how will you communicate your vision to others ?

Although traditional business minds might balk at his approach, it’s actually common for investors – especially from Silicon Valley – who fund embryonic startups with seemingly oddball ideas. Sure, these startups will often flunk, but they’re also the ones with the best chance of breaking new ground.

Son will focus on companies from the seed to series A stages. But beyond these broad descriptions, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what technologies he will support. That’s because Son aims to modernize every aspect of people’s lives.

“The way you work. The way you live. Education. Healthcare. Everything. Even how you eat,” he says.

Son envisions building a futuristic city, designed from scratch with modern technologies in mind, where robots will deliver packages via tunnels, where roads are reduced, and everyone travels on personal mobility devices.

The result will be a safer and greener living space with less road traffic. Parents won’t worry that their children will be knocked down by cars.

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Source: Tech In Asia.

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