Speaking at the Infinity Forum – India’s flagship global financial technology summit– Son said that he had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi several years ago in Japan and made a commitment to invest $5 billion in India.
“Just this year alone, we have invested $3 billion into India. We are the biggest foreign investor in India. We are providers of about 10% of the funding of all the unicorns–firms valued at $ 1 billion or more– in India,” said the 64-year-old billionaire investor who estimates that Softbank-backed firms in India have created one million jobs.
“I believe in the future of India. I believe in the passion of young entrepreneurs in India. There is a bright future. I tell the young people in India, let’s make it happen, I will support,” he said.
SoftBank is amongst the most bullish investors in Indian startups having backed large ventures including Paytm and Policybazaar, both of which listed on Indian bourses last month, as well as others such as Delhivery, Unacademy, Grofers, Oyo Hotels & Homes.
In 2021, Softbank re-invested in ecommerce major Flipkart besides birthing new unicorns like Zeta, Meesho and OfBusiness.
Speaking to ET last month, SoftBank Investment Advisors managing partner Munish Varma said the investment major
is keen to back newer fintech ventures, even as Paytm launched the largest ever Indian IPO of close to $2.5 billion.
ET also reported that SoftBank is
in advanced stages of talks to back fintech startup Juspay.
Son said on Friday that the Japanese investment major gets criticised every three-four years. “There is a good time, there is a bad time. When the stock market goes down, we are always getting criticised,” he said, by adding that the fund has a long-term view on its investment.
“Our return on investment for the last 20 years is 43%. I think maybe we have got the highest return on a 20-year scale but in the process there are lots of ups and downs.”
He added that one of the reasons SoftBank has such a long-term view is because it is not chasing money but building the future. “Taking risks together with entrepreneurs,” Son added.