- Tram Ho
Just a few weeks ago, Masayoshi Son was going through a tough time when it was criticized after a few of his major investment deals failed. It reminded many of others at one time, he was also subjected to intense criticism when he threw millions of dollars to an entrepreneur who was considered “crazy” – but the outcome was completely different.
Last Friday, Softbank CEO appeared at a conference with Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Here, he emphasized his belief in the style of investing based on his boldness and instinct. It is worth mentioning that the conversation came just weeks after Softbank rescued WeWork after a failed attempt to IPO the company.
Talking at the Tokyo Forum at the University of Tokyo, two billionaire businessmen recalled how famous Son was when investing $ 20 million in Jack Ma’s company after a meeting lasting only 10 minutes.
Out of all the businessmen he met when he came to China in 2000, Ma was the only one who didn’t convince Son to invest money and didn’t have a business plan. However, he has a “strong fighting spirit”, a passion and a belief in how the Internet can change China.
“Jack Ma was the only one with bright eyes and it captured my heart,” Son recalls.
Son said that it took a long time to convince Jack Ma to accept the money, the first proposal was $ 50 million – but Jack Ma thought that the amount was too much and then Son “only poured” $ 20 million to exchange. take 32% of Alibaba shares.
Softbank has since sold off its stake in Alibaba and now holds only 26%, worth nearly $ 135 billion.
Son ignored the Chinese startup founders he met on that trip because “their passion and belief is not in their heart.”
When asked how he knew it, Son said, “Because I can feel it.”
Son’s investment-based investment style has been heavily criticized recently.
Son and Softbank have poured millions of dollars into WeWork, but in the end investors were skeptical about the “sky” valuation of this startup and in particular, all of them “fell” with the management style of former CEO Neumann.
Softbank eventually had to offer a rescue package worth $ 9.5 billion at a company valuation of $ 8 billion compared to $ 47 billion previously.
Other companies in the company’s $ 100 billion Vision Fund portfolio are also struggling. Shares of Uber and Slack both fell by 40% compared to the highest level.
All of these issues caused Softbank to announce operating losses of nearly US $ 9 billion in the third quarter of the year. However, Jack Ma sent Son a word of encouragement and praised his vision of the future driven by technology.
Jack Ma: “You are probably the boldest investor in the world. Very few people have the courage.”
Son interrupted: “So cheeky, I lost a lot of money.”
The whole room laughed.
Despite all that, Son insists he will not change his investment style. He said he wanted Softbank to last forever after he left and the only way to ensure it was to back hundreds of companies, technologies and “great entrepreneurs”.
Son said he knew Jack Ma would have a billion-dollar future in just 10 minutes because “I could smell Jack Ma”.
” We are all a little crazy,” Son said.
“Yes, people say we are crazy but we are not stupid, right? We can be crazy but not ignorant,” said Ma.
According to Young Intellectuals / CNN
Source : Trí Thức Trẻ