SoftBank to funnel $1bn investment into US satellite startup OneWeb
REMEMBER when SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and President-elect Donald Trump struck a deal earlier this month to create 50,000 jobs in the U.S.? Son just made headway on that promise with the Japanese technology fund’s first investment in an American company since Son and Trump’s announcement.
SoftBank led the US$1.2 billion round into satellite startup OneWeb Ltd. with a billion, which should create 3,000 new jobs for the U.S. The investment will “fund the development of small, low Earth orbiting satellites” and also build a Florida-based facility which will develop approximately 15 satellites per week.
The investment should create around 3,000 new engineering, manufacturing and support jobs at OneWeb over the next four years, according to a statement released by the startup.
“Earlier this month I met with President-elect Trump and shared my commitment to investing and creating jobs in the U.S. This is the first step in that commitment,” added Son.
The Japanese billionaire, during his meeting with Trump on December 6th, promised to invest US$50 billion into the US while creating jobs in the process. This deal would help kickstart Trump’s job-creation promises and could also pave the way for a merger between SoftBank-controlled Sprint Corp and T-Mobile, which has been speculated for quite some time.
— Industry News (@IndNewsAnalysis) December 21, 2016
Backing OneWeb will be the first investment for the “SoftBank Vision Fund” which was unveiled back in October of this year. The fund, where SoftBank will put in US$25 billion, partnered with the public investment fund of Saudi Arabia which pledged to put in another US$45 over the next five years. And yes, it’s the same public fund that backed Uber with US$3.5 billion over the summer.
The fund was announced with dramatic flair, when Son ditched his retirement plans in favor of becoming “the biggest investor in the tech sector”. So far, Son has not strayed far from the media limelight and with his fund’s latest investment into OneWeb, it seems that he’s ardently focused on reaching that goal.