SoftBank Launches $250M Fund to Help Startups’ Asian Expansion

softbank II

SoftBank Capital, the venture firm of Japan’s SOFTBANK Corp., announced the closing of the PrinceVille Fund, a $250 million fund designed to help startups expand into Asia.

“Due to its long-standing strategic relationship with SOFTBANK, a worldwide leader in Internet, mobile communications, broadband services and fixed-line telecommunications with an extensive presence in Japan, China and the Asia region, the fund is uniquely positioned to help growth stage technology companies achieve success in their international expansion plans,” SoftBank explained in a press release.

The speed of the expanding Asian economy has proved attractive to startups, but the business demographics of the region present formidable challenges. Asia’s mature mobile market can be quite lucrative, but many startups need help adjusting to the politics and business culture. SoftBank promises a high level of continental expertise.

“Our long-term ties and active working relationship with SOFTBANK allow us to have an unmatched ability to guide companies as they strategically approach their Asian expansion plans,” said Steve Murray, partner at SoftBank Capital. “SOFTBANK related companies like SoftBank Mobile, Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba are often the perfect partners for companies looking to accelerate their market presence in the region and we are the only fund investing in these sectors with deep connections to all of those companies.”

Though the firm has traditionally focused on seed funding, it plans to expand its portfolio to more mature companies looking to expand into Asia, where it can be difficult to establish a foothold. With this latest fund, the firm will maintain its investment focus on startups specializing in social media, mobile apps, ecommerce, online advertising, gaming and cloud computing. The average investment for the fund with be $10 million to $20 million for 12 to 15 companies.

“SoftBank Capital now has the capacity to partner with technology companies and entrepreneurs at all stages of their life cycle,” said Ron Fisher, managing partner of SoftBank Capital. “We can offer companies and entrepreneurs the best of both of what a strategic investor and an experienced, committed financial investor can bring to these companies on their journey to success.”

SoftBank has had success over the last several years, thanks to investments in Buddy Media, acquired by Salesforce; OMGPOP, acquired by Zynga; Huffington Post, acquired by AOL; and Hyperpublic, acquired by Groupon.

“For entrepreneurs looking for a committed investment partner, SoftBank Capital offers one of the best track records and some of the deepest industry connections,” said Michael Lazerow, co-founder, Buddy Media & CMO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud. “They know the space, they know the players and they have very real relationships to help your business grow and succeed.”