SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

SoftBank Group on Thursday announced that it has secured $108 billion for its second Vision Fund, a late-stage venture capital vehicle whose original $100 billion edition turned Silicon Valley upside down. The final size is expected to be even larger.

What to watch: SoftBank listed around a dozen groups that had signed memoranda of understanding to invest, including Apple and Microsoft. There is no mention of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, which was the largest Fund 1 contributor with a $45 billion slug, although that doesn't necessarily mean it's not involved.

The original Vision Fund, raised in 2017, invested in such companies as Uber, DoorDash, GM Cruise and WeWork.

  • SoftBank itself plans to commit $38 billion, up from $28 billion the first time around.
  • Other return backers include Apple and Foxconn.
  • In addition to Saudi, other missing Fund 1 limited partners include Qualcomm, Sharp and a sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates.
  • New investors include Microsoft, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, MUFG Bank, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co., SMBC Nikko Securities, Daiwa Securities Group and Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund.

Microsoft could be a particularly intriguing addition, based on a WSJ report indicating SoftBank plans to encourage its "roughly 75 companies to shift from Amazon's cloud platform to Microsoft’s."

  • No word on how it would convince existing portfolio companies to make such a fundamental switch, although it certainly could have quid pro quo leverage over future investment targets.

The bottom line: Silicon Valley grumbled through the first Vision Fund, arguing that it overcapitalized companies and persuaded certain founders to chase market share without regard for underlying fundamentals. Expect those complaints to get even louder.

Go deeper

When U.S. politicians exploit foreign disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. political actors will keep weaponizing the impact of widespread foreign disinformation campaigns on American elections, making these operations that much more effective and attractive to Russia, China, Iran or other countries backing them.

Why it matters: Hostile powers’ disinformation campaigns aim to destabilize the U.S., and each time a domestic politician embraces them, it demonstrates that they work.

45 mins ago - Technology

Samsung debuts Note 20, new foldable smartphone

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Photo: Samsung

Samsung unveiled its crop of new mobile devices Wednesday, including two versions of the Note 20 smartphone, an updated foldable device, two tablets and a watch.

Why it matters: The new devices aim to give Samsung an early start in the second half of the year, with products aimed at parents buying fresh gear for the back-to-(home)school season.

Joe Biden will no longer travel to Milwaukee for Democratic convention

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden will no longer be traveling to Milwaukee the week of Aug. 17 to accept his nomination in person at the Democratic National Convention due to COVID-19 concerns, the DNC announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: No planned speakers will travel to Milwaukee, meaning that the convention will be entirely virtual — unlike the hybrid event that the party had previously been planning. Biden will accept the nomination from his home state of Delaware.