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

"What the hell?"

That was the opening question yesterday for SoftBank Vision Fund's Lydia Jett and Colin Fan, for a packed afternoon session at Upfront Summit in Los Angeles.

Bottom line: Jett and Fann argued that too much is being made of SVF's $100 billion size, and too little of the "vision" part.

More specifically, SoftBank CEO Masa Son's belief that the world is in a rare technological inflection point, and that large deal sizes are justifiable if you're thinking well beyond a 10-year investment horizon. More like a 30-year to 3oo-year timeframe.

  • Yes, that 300 figure was said repeatedly, so it wasn't just a one-time tongue slip.
  • I don't know how to put this more tactfully, so... There was some unsettling cult of personality stuff emanating from the stage, well beyond the typical belief in a founder's vision.
  • Masa personally meets with founders prior to SVF investing, more to gauge personality and ambition than to judge underlying tech or business fundamentals.
  • SVF has only lost out on two deals so far. We previously reported one was Stitch Fix, so here's an open call for the other's identity
  • $100 million is the "theoretical minimum" check size. SVF doesn't want control, but it also doesn't want to be a passive shareholder..
  • There was an interesting dichotomy yesterday: During a morning session I chaired on crypto investing, a lot was made about how buying startup tokens can be superior to buying equity, thanks to crypto's short-term liquidity flexibility (leaving aside custodial issues). SVF, however, is talking about investments that could take decades to exit. Most of the VC/LP audience, of course, continues to live in the vast middle ages.

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.

Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas four Trump aides

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Jan 6. select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed four aides to former President Trump for testimony and documents.

Why it matters: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former communications official Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon were all in touch "with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee said in a release.