Well, it turns out that they were always such a heavy hitting investment bank. One of their first purchases was to acquire the Japanese subsidiary of British telecom company Vodaphone in 2001. It should be noted that even this did not create the bulk of the wealth that they are deploying today. The company’s big winner was a $20 million dollar investment in Alibaba that returned $60 billion when the e-commerce platform went public in 2014.
Now SoftBank has announced the development of an ultra-compact wireless chip that is “ideal for IoT applications with space constraints such as wearable trackers, health monitoring devices, smartwatches and fitness bands.” A press release about a LTE CAT-1 LGA Module is hardly something notable for most of our esteemed PropTech audience but it does give some insight into SoftBank’s vision.
As we have said before, SoftBank is unique for its 300-year investment timeline and its mission of becoming “the corporate group needed most by people around the world.” This epic investment horizon and socially impactful corporate strategy make it unique in the investment world that usually can’t see past quarterly earnings.
Knowing this, it makes more sense that SoftBank would be so interested in creating technologies that will enable the next generation of wearable IoT. They may soon be able to harvest data from where people live (Compass), where they work (WeWork), and now where they go. It can also help them create useful tools for tracking a number of health-related metrics that can be useful in understanding what makes people thrive.
Masayoshi Son, the CEO and Founder of SoftBank, has said in earning’s reports that he wants to own an interest in the best companies so that those companies can then help each other to grow even stronger. That means their growing portfolio of game-changing startups will be uncovering an exponentially greater amount of data on how we interact, transact and live.