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Softbank is losing money on its Vision Fund - but there is a light at the end of tunnel

6 months ago by Jon Marino in Markets

Softbank ($TYO:9984) is losing money. 

The Japanese conglomerate has built a reputation for itself virtually overnight as one of the largest investors in technology startups in the world, with its $100 billion fund in 2017, and plans for a second fund of roughly equal size this year. 

Softbank is experiencing an unfortunate social media trend that tends to only befall companies that are under pressure - for one reason, or another. And as the losses in its $100 billion Vision Fund stack up, it looks like more people are actively disengaging with its Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) page, by hitting the 'Unlike' button. 

Two of the biggest investments Son's fund has made are in Uber $NYSE:UBER), which has struggled with deep losses since its May 2019 IPO, and WeWork ($WEWORK), which, depending on who you read, may not even be able to pull off an IPO at all after making big cuts to its evaluation to attract more investors. Uber job postings are down more than 30% since May, when it made its market debut - and WeWork job postings may soon be on a similar path if it cannot IPO. 

Now for the silver linings. Uber, for one, is scaling up a monster logistics and supply chain business with the same technology it used to disrupt the taxi space. And, as you can see from the Google ($NASDAQ:GOOG) Play App Store Ratings Count, it's risen a staggering 72%. There are plenty of digital disruptors in the space - but Uber has a big advantage thanks to its brand power. 

WeWork is also seeing sentiment rise in a critical area - internally. Our final chart tracks Employee Workplace Surveys, which captures staffer sentiment. And, WeWork has been on a solid path for nearly a month, seeing CEO Adam Neumann's rating rise about 15% from recent lows. Now, let's see how that rating holds up, should Neumann actually cancel one of the biggest IPOs of 2019. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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