SOFTBANK Group's early-stage investment vehicle SoftBank Ventures Asia will be opening a Singapore office and hiring investment professionals here in Q1 2019.
Armed with US$1.1 billion in funds, it is searching for more AI-related (artificial intelligence) startups, especially in Asia, to invest in.
Previously called SoftBank Ventures Korea, the private equity investor will also look to open a new Shanghai office, and currently operates teams in Seoul, Beijing, San Francisco and Tel Aviv.
It has invested in over 250 companies across 10 countries with a focus on AI, IoT (Internet of things) and robotics startups. Its investments include Indonesia-based Tokopedia, which focuses on e-commerce, logistics, payments and financial services; AI chip company Mythic in Silicon Valley; video communication service operator Hyperconnect; and augmented reality camera app SNOW China.
SoftBank Ventures Asia's CEO and managing partner JP Lee said: "SoftBank Ventures Asia invests to accelerate the information revolution and is increasingly interested in the application of artificial intelligence across different industries."
Mr Lee said that the company has a vision to “support promising young entrepreneurs by offering unparalleled access to SoftBank's community, resources, and network”.
Tokopedia's CEO and co-founder William Tanuwijaya said that SoftBank Ventures Asia was “an early believer in our mission to democratise commerce through technology”, and that it “has been a supportive shareholder and partner”. SoftBank Ventures Asia took a stake in his company in 2013.