Not Just Uber: Where SoftBank Is Putting Its Investment Dollars

The Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank appears to be gearing up for a hefty investment in Uber, as the conglomerate shifts focus to fields including ride-sharing services like Uber as well as commercial real estate.

Uber struck a preliminary deal Sunday with a group of investors led by SoftBank that could be worth up to $10 billion and give the investor group about 14% of the company, news reports said. However, SoftBank, which has already invested in ride-hailing companies in China and India, has cautioned that the deal is “by no means” certain. If it goes through, the deal could pave the way for Uber to go public by 2019.

Led by CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank has taken steps recently to shift from telecom to technology in a broader sense, as well as to commercial real estate.

The Japanese conglomerate invested $4.4 billion in coworking company WeWork in August, and $3.3 billion in management firm Fortress Investment Group in February – though that deal, expected to close by the end of the year, has been held up for months by regulators in Washington.

Fortress is a player in the commercial real estate world, issuing loans of upwards of $100 million (CrediFi took a look earlier this year at its apparent efforts to increase its loan yield). Other SoftBank CRE investments include OYO, the Indian hotel room aggregator, which recently closed a $250 million Softbank-led round of investment. Both the Fortress and OYO investments come from SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund, a massive technology investment fund that goes hand in hand with Son’s pledge last year to invest billions of dollars in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs there.

The market seems to be displaying confidence in SoftBank, which began recovering last year from a drop in 2013. Its share price has risen steadily since early last year, rising 80% in that time, to $42.57 Monday.

As SoftBank expands its focus, it will be interesting to see what kind of role the Japanese conglomerate will play in industries like ride-hailing services and commercial real estate

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Alex Veksler

Head of Content

Alex Veksler has 16 years of finance, data analysis and project management experience. He is a former vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on product control of equity and fixed-income derivatives products as well as various projects involving finance and technology, such as revamping risk attribution and balance-sheet systems for profits and losses. Alex has previously worked at hedge funds, most recently as a director at Exigent Capital. He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Yeshiva University and an MBA from New York University.

Ely Razin

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Ely Razin founded CrediFi in 2014 with Battery Ventures. A rare combination of seasoned corporate executive and technology entrepreneur, Ely previously served as global head of board governance for Thomson Reuters Accelus and head of business law for Thomson Reuters, after the software company he founded was acquired in 2004. The company, Expert Ease Software, developed AI-based software that automatically summarizes key deal terms for transactions in fields including capital markets, M&A and real estate. Ely began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer, and holds an LLB and MBA from York University.

Frank Muhlon

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Frank Muhlon oversees CredifX, the commercial real estate financing marketplace that mines the CrediFi database at its core. Prior to joining CrediFi, Frank served as vice president of Northeast region business operations for online CRE property trading platform Ten-X, which has closed over $40 billion in transactions since its inception. He has also held key positions at Orix USA/Houlihan Lokey, Silverstein Properties and Trammell Crow Company. Frank received his master’s degree in real estate finance from New York University and his bachelor’s in finance from Rutgers University.

Charles Mctiernan

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Charles Mctiernan comes to CrediFi from Ned Davis Research Group and Roubini Global Economics, where he was the global head of sales. He also spent more than 10 years at Reuters America Holdings, where he held a number of senior sales leadership roles, including head of solutions sales and head of global accounts. Charles, who received his bachelor’s in economics from East Carolina University, has more than 25 years of experience in technology, data and research sales.

Amichai Levy

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Amichai Levy is the former VP of R&D at Israeli high-tech firm Payoneer, where he developed its signature cross-border payment platform and integrated it with existing bank technology. In his prior role at Ness Technologies, Amichai was a key player in developing an electronic case filing system for Israel’s courts. He has over 20 years of experience in software engineering.

David Fajgman

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David Fajgman brings over 14 years of financial and managerial experience to CrediFi. Prior to joining the CrediFi team, he served as finance director of Bioness Neuromodulation Ltd., which develops and manufactures medical devices involved in neurological rehabilitation. He has previously worked in multiple finance roles at Thomson Reuters and as an accounting and consulting manager at Ernst & Young, where he was responsible for a wide range of clients, including companies listed on the Nasdaq and privately held high-tech companies. David is an Israel-licensed certified public accountant and has a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting.

Liat Bar David

Head of Human Resources

Liat Bar David has over nine years of human resources experience, primarily focused on the high-tech industry. She is a former HR business partner at semiconductor solutions provider Broadcom, where she was responsible for onboarding processes, benefits, policies, training and development, performance management and employee retention. Liat holds a bachelor’s in communication and human services and a master’s in human resources and services, both from the University of Haifa.