Masayoshi Son: Founder & CEO of SoftBank

Megha Rani Megha Rani
Dec 24, 2020 6 min read
Masayoshi Son: Founder & CEO of SoftBank

Masayoshi Son is a Japanese Entrepreneur, Investor and Philanthropist. He founded the Japanese holding company, SoftBank and serves as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is the Chairman of the UK-based Arm Holdings. According to Forbes, Masayoshi is the second richest man in Japan with a net worth of $ 30 billion, in spite of having the contradistinction of losing a huge amount of money, approximately $ 70 billion during the dot com crash of 2000. Forbes Magazine listed him the 45th most powerful person across the world. He ranks 32nd on the Forbes list of The World Billionaires 2020.

Masayoshi Son- Biography

Name Masayoshi Son
Born 11 August, 1957
Birthplace Tosu, Saga, Japan
Age 63 (2020)
Nationality Japanese
Citizenship Japan
Education University of California, Berkeley
Profession Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist
Position Founder & CEO, SoftBank
Net worth $ 30 billion ( August 2020 )
Brothers 3
Marital Status Married
Spouse Masami Ohno
Children 2

Masayoshi Son- Personal Life
Masayoshi Son- Education
Masayoshi Son- Professional Life
Masayoshi Son- SoftBank
Masayoshi Son- Vision Fund Investments
Masayoshi Son- Investor
Masayoshi Son- Arm Holdings
Masayoshi Son- Philanthropy

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Masayoshi Son- Personal Life

Masayoshi was born in Tosu, Japan. He belongs to "Zainichi Koreans", ethnic Koreans having permanent residency in Japan. He has three brothers and is the second eldest of the siblings. Taizo Son, his younger brother is the Founder of GunHo Online Entertainment and the venture capital firm Mistletoe.

At age 16, he moved out from Japan to California for higher studies. He then lived with his friends and family in South San Francisco. He met his wife, Masami Ohno, while studying in the university. The couple bears two children. He currently reside with his family in Tokyo.

Masayoshi Son- Education

Masayoshi went California and finished high school in just three weeks by taking the necessitated exams at Serramonte High. After that, he pursued Bachelor of Arts specialized in Economics and also studied Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.

He completed his graduation in 1980. He pursued his interest in business before Japan's McDonald president, Den Fujita, and on the advice of the latter, he started studying English and Computer Science.

Masayoshi Son- Professional Life

At age 19, Masayoshi got besotted by an integrated circuit featured in a magazine and he realized that computer technology would fuel the next commercial revolution.

While pursuing his studies, he had developed an electronic translator that was sold to Sharp Corporation for $ 1.7 million. He earned $ 1.5 million by importing used video games and installing them in dormitories and restaurants.

After graduating in 1980, he started Unison in Oakland, CA, which was acquired by Kyocera. He is a highly active investor and holds maximum stakes at companies like Yahoo!, Alibaba through the means of his venture SoftBank.

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Masayoshi Son- SoftBank

SoftBank Logo

Masayoshi founded SoftBank Group Corporation on 3 September, 1989. The company is headquartered in Minato, Tokyo and he serves its Founder and CEO. He also owns a professional Japanese baseball team, which he named as SoftBank Hawks.

SoftBank is a multinational conglomerate holding venture which holds stakes in many technology, energy, and financial companies. It also runs Vision Fund which is the world's largest technology-focused venture capital firm, with over $ 100 billion in capital.

Masayoshi Son- Vision Fund Investments

Vision Fund Logo

The $ 100 billion Vision Fund is an investment vehicle that runs for SoftBank. It invests in emerging technologies like, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things. The company aims to double its portfolio of AI companies to reform real estate, transportation, and retail.

He makes personal connections with the CEOs of all companies funded by Vision Fund. He plans to raise $ 100 billion for a new fund. In every few years, he invests about $ 50 billion each year in startups. Currently, a second Vision Fund is in works with a target of $ 108 billion, of which $ 38 million comes from SoftBank itself.

As of 2020, Vision Fund has investeed in 88 companies including ride-share company Grab, Coupang and Paytm.

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Masayoshi Son- Investor

He is an active investor such that his holding company, SoftBank holds 29.5 % of Alibaba. Moreover, his stake in Yahoo! had diminished by  7 %. He then established Yahoo! Japan in September 2001, where he holds a controllable interest. He stepped down from the Alibaba board in June 2020.

Post hyperinflation of SoftBank's equity, he was strained to pivot towards Yahoo!BB and BB Phone. SoftBank has a accumulated debt of about $ 1.3 billion till date. Still, Yahoo! BB acquired Japan Telecom, which was then third largest broadband and landline provider with 600,00 residential and 170,000 commercial subscribers. Thereafter, Yahoo! BB is Japan's leading broadband provider.

Masayoshi Son- Arm Holdings

Masayoshi serves as the Chairman of the US-based software design company, Arm Holdings. In July 2016, there was an announcement that SoftBank is planning to acquire Arm Holdings for $ 31.4 billion, which would be the largest ever purchase of a European technology company.

Arm Holdings was officially acquired by SoftBank in September 2016. The company approved of the complete transaction. The total acquisition price counted to $ 34 billion. Moreover, SoftBank further acquired Sprint Corporation by purchasing 76 % of its share. Later, SoftBank owned a accumulated share of 84% in Sprint.

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Masayoshi Son- Philanthropy

Masayoshi vowed to donate $ 120 million and his remaining salary until retirement to support victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Post devastating effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, he criticized the nuclear industry for creating a problem that worries Japanese thoroughly. He thus invested in a nationwide solar power network for Japan. It was announced in March 2018 that Masayoshi was investing in the biggest ever solar project.

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