BI Prime

Softbank has lost 2 managing partners in just 3 months. Meet the remaining partners behind the $100 billion Vision Fund that's backed companies like Uber and WeWork.

Masayoshi Son Masayoshi Son
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has invested about $80 billion in tech companies through the Vision Fund.
Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

This story requires our BI Prime membership. To read the full article, simply click here to claim your deal and get access to all exclusive Business Insider PRIME content.

  • Through the $100 billion Vision Fund, Softbank CEO, Masayoshi Son, has invested millions in Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies — with help from his 12 managing partners.
  • The company has been experiencing a domino effect of resignations, losing two managing partners and one executive, in just three months. 
  • The fund has also faced scrutiny this year. SoftBank is working towards a $9.5 billion bailout from its deal with WeWork, and several startups backed by the fund are significantly downsizing to cut back on funding needs, Business Insider reported.
  • Business Insider looked into the careers of the 12 managing partners behind some of the company's biggest deals. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

SoftBank has lost two managing partners and one high-ranked executive in barely three months.

Former managing partner Praveen Akkiraju's resignation in December triggered a domino effect that led to two more departures. Michael Ronen, the Vision Fund's US head and a managing partner, is leaving after expressing concerns over "issues" at the firm, the Financial Times reported. The company's chief people officer and a McKinsey veteran, Michelle Horn, also left  in February.

The $100 billion fund — which has backed companies like Uber and Sprint — has faced scrutiny surrounding its decisions to invest in money-losing companies.

For example, the Vision Fund invested a total $19.9 billion in We Company, the parent of WeWork. SoftBank is working towards a $9.5 billion bailout from the deal, after the WeWork fiasco resulted in 2,400 employee lay-offs.

Wework isn't the only company that's downsizing either. In fact, some SoftBank-backed companies — like Oyo, Rappi, Getaround, and Zume — laid off 2,600 employees in the first week of 2020, Business Insider reported. Dog-walking app Wag also laid off about 80% of its staff, as SoftBank plans to give up its 50% stake after the departure of its CEO Hilary Schneider in November. 

Moreover, chief financial officer Navneet Govil and Housenbold are facing scrutiny after Bloomberg Businessweek reported current and former employees describe the work environment as full of political rivalries, harassment, and compliance issues. SoftBank later denied the report.

Behind many of the Vision Fund's investment decisions are its 12 managing partners. Business Insider looked into the careers of the company's managing partners and why they made the news this year. Here they are in alphabetical order.

Akshay Naheta, managing partner, EMEA

Akshay Naheta
Akshay Naheta.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: In January 2017, SoftBank hired Naheta to help manage $100 billion in funding for the purpose of breaking into the tech sector. Now, he's a managing partner leading Europe, the Middle East, and Africa regions. He's been involved in investments in car-dealing platform Auto1, Brazilian e-commerce firm Loggi, biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, a graphics chipmaker Nvidia, and most recently a $1 billion investment in Wirecard, a German electronic-payment company. 

Career highlights: Naheta worked as a top trader at Deutsche Bank. In 2011, he founded Knights Assets and Co., a London investment firm that focuses on arbitrage and value investing. His fund made an annual return of 113% a year on $416 million in investments, Business Insider reported


Colin Fan, managing partner, Americas and Asia

Colin Fan
Colin Fan.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Fan focuses on fintech startups in the Americas and Asia region. He was most recently involved in a $655 million additional investment deal on Greensill Capital, a supply chain financing startup. 

Career highlight: After spending 17 years at Deutsche Bank, Fan left the company while it was going through a major restructuring in 2015. Deutsche Bank split its asset and wealth management division into two and brought in a new CEO, John Cryan. Fan, the former head of global markets, resigned from his position and sued the bank over an unpaid bonus, Bloomberg reported. Both parties reached a $6 million settlement in 2018. Nevertheless, Fan rose through the ranks in trading operations at Deutsche Bank and earned six leadership titles, according to his LinkedIn profile

Deep Nishar, senior managing partner, Americas

Deep Nishar
Deep Nishar.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Nishar was hands-on with SoftBank's $250 million funding for computer storage company Cohesity. In an interview with Business Insider, he shared details about how he came across the investment deal through former colleague and the startup's CEO Mohit Aron. 

Career highlight: In 2009, Nishar left Google as senior director of product to work as LinkedIn's senior vice president of product and user experience. He helped LinkedIn navigate through a complete digital redesign to fit with mobile users and introduced original editorial content, resulting in more than 187 million registered users by 2012, Business Insider reported.  

Eric Chen, managing partner, Asia

Eric Chen
Eric Chen.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Chen runs the company's China-based investment team as part of its initiative to expand into Asia's booming tech market. Chen is an investment advisor based in San Francisco, and the company is building international offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. 

Career highlight: Chen was the managing director at Silver Lake, a leading tech investment firm. He also founded his own tech service platform, BaseBit Technologies. 


Ervin Tu, managing partner, Americas

Ervin Tu
Ervin Tu.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Tu is the relationship lead for SoftBank's partnerships. In April, he led a $333 million investment in Uber's self-driving vehicle. SoftBank already serves as the ride-sharing company's largest shareholder, putting in $500 million last year, CNBC reported. 

Career highlight: The MBA graduate was a managing director at Goldman Sachs, overseeing the tech, media, and telecommunications group. 

Greg Moon, managing partner, Asia

Greg Moon
Greg Moon.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Moon has been at the company for 23 years and he now leads the fintech, media, frontier tech, and real estate sectors in Asia. He led two major billion-dollar investment deals with tech service platform OneConnect and ride-sharing app Grab, Business Insider reported. 

Career highlight: He was the CEO and president of SoftBank Ventures Korea before joining SoftBank's Vision Fund as a managing partner. He ran the firm's early-stage business in Seoul.

Jeff Housenbold, managing partner, Americas

Jeff Housenbold
Jeff Housenbold.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Housenbold managed the Vision Fund's investment in Wag, a dog-walking app that's facing some setbacks after CEO Hilary Schneider left last month and the startup has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs. SoftBank is selling back its nearly 50% stake in Wag. 

Career highlight: At a company portfolio meeting in October, Housenbold said his misplaced judgement on Wag stemmed from his attempt to back female CEOs, Business Insider reported. He then deflected blame on the #MeToo movement, suggesting that it "limited his ability to maneuver" away from the Wag deal, according to a Bloomberg report.

Kentaro Matsui, managing partner, Asia

Kentaro Matsui
Kentaro Matsui.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Matsui leads SoftBank's investment advisors in Japan, and he also focuses on fintech, health tech, transportation, and logistics transactions throughout Asia. In 2018, he set up a shareholder agreement with ZhongAn International to expand its insurtech service, according to Markets Insider

Career highlight: Before his role as a managing partner, Matsui was a banker that oversaw SoftBank's acquisition of Vodafone Japan and Arm Holdings. 

Mark Agne, managing partner, EMEA

Mark Agne
Mark Agne.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Agne wasn't planning on taking another job after his retirement at Goldman Sachs, but the SoftBank opportunity "was too compelling," he wrote in the company's website.  The managing partner is responsible for Europe, the Middle East, and African regions. 

Career highlight: Agne worked at Goldman Sachs for more than 16 years. During that time, he ran Japan's securities division and APAC equity trading at the investment bank. 

Munish Varma, managing partner, EMEA and Asia

Munish Varma
Munish Varma.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Varma secured $390 million worth of funding to OakNorth, a UK-based digital bank startup. As one of the major players in the fintech business, he is also responsible for investment deals with Delhivery, FirstCry, Oyo, Paytm, and Policy Bazaar, Business Insider reported. 

Career highlight: Varma is another MBA graduate from Cornell University and a Deutsche Bank alum. He worked as the head of global markets for Deutsche in India before joining SoftBank. 

Saleh Romeih, managing partner, EMEA

Saleh Romeih
Saleh Romeih.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Romeih serves as a managing partner and a member of the Small Business Investor Alliance investment committee. He oversees global operations and diverse investment deals throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Career highlight: He spent 18 years as a managing director at Deutsche Bank before joining Softbank.

Yanni Pipilis, managing partner

Yanni Pipilis
Yanni Pipilis.
SoftBank Vision Fund

Role at SoftBank: Pipilis joined SoftBank Vision Fund's group of managing partners in September. He specializes in the finance and helping companies reach full growth potential, he stated on the company website.

Career highlight: Pipilis replaced Ram Nayak as the head of fixed-income trading at Deutsche Bank in 2018, according to MarketWatch. He played a major role in the credit trading business before joining SoftBank. 


SEE ALSO: Leaked memo sent by the CEO of SoftBank's Vision Fund defends 2 senior execs at the heart of a blistering Businessweek report

More: BI Prime Features Strategy inline
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.