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Photo illustration of the SoftBank Group logo on a smartphone. Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

SoftBank announced Tuesday it will create a $3 billion private investment fund focusing on technology companies in Latin America.

Why it matters: The launch of the SoftBank Latin America Fund II comes after the Japanese investment giant started a $5 billion fund in the region two years ago that became one of Latin America's most active venture capital players.

Details: The new fund intends to invest in technology-enabled companies at every stage of their development, from seed to public, SoftBank said.

  • SoftBank Latin America Fund II will seek prospective investments of firms that are utilizing emerging technologies and AI.
  • The fund especially wants to focus on focus on e-commerce, digital financial services, healthcare, education, blockchain, and enterprise software.

What they're saying: “Latin America is one of the most important economic regions in the world, and SoftBank will continue to drive technology adoption that will benefit hundreds of millions of people in this part of the world," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement.

  • Son said Latin America continues to see innovation and disruption and he believed business opportunities are strong in the region.

The intrigue: Marcelo Claure, the SoftBank COO, who leads the first Latin American fund will also oversee the second investment, the company said.

  • "We expect that 2022 will be the biggest IPO year in Latin America’s history. Now is the time for us to double down on our commitment to the region," Claure said.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva: SoftBank not only has a history of backing high growth startups in Latin America but it’s also a fan to very large markets like China and Latin America.

  • "In the latter, it also has the advantage of being one of the few currently able companies and is willing to write large checks."

Don't forget: SoftBank has a long history in Latin America. In 2000, it created SoftBank Latin America Ventures to support the group’s companies in the region and invest in startups, Bloomberg reports.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Dec 13, 2021 - World

China's SenseTime delays Hong Kong IPO after placement on U.S. blacklist

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SenseTime, a Chinese developer of facial recognition technology, is delaying its Hong Kong IPO after being added to a U.S. Treasury Department blacklist of "Chinese military-industrial companies."

Why it matters: This is China's most highly valued AI company, fetching a $13 billion mark after being placed on a different U.S. government blacklist for its alleged involvement in human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims. That original designation prevented SenseTime from doing business with U.S. companies, whereas the new one prevents U.S. investors from buying or selling its listed shares.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump dogs "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.

Why it matters: The two are among the most popular Republicans in the country, and as the former president eyes another run in 2024, he's irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him.