Korean e-commerce firm Coupang raises $2 billion from SoftBanks Vision Fund

Just days after a CIA report concluded thatSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, SoftBanks Vision Fund the gargantuan investment vehicle anchored by a $45 billion investment from Saudi Arabias PIF sovereignfund is back in check-writing action.
Coupang, Koreas largest e-commerce firm, revealed today that it has raised $2 billion from the Vision Fund. The investment comes weeks after SoftBanks stake in Coupang was transferredover the Vision Fund, as the firm has done with a number of its investment.
No valuation was announced, but a source close to the deal told TechCrunch that it values Coupang at $9 billion post-money.This deal, which we understand is entirelynew stock with no secondary sales,takes Coupang to $3.4 billion raised to date. Its last round was a $1 billion investment from SoftBank in 2015.
The deal is a massive validation for Coupang, which becomes the first Korean company to form a part of the Vision Fund, which SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son has championed as a network of global winners, but the link to theKhashoggi threatens to sour the achievement.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is widely accused of ordering the killing of Washington Post reporterKhashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime. A Saudi-led investigation exonerated the princes role, however the CIA report released over the last week places the blame fairly squarely on his shoulders while others in the Saudi royal family are reportedlyplotting to replace the prince as the next in line to the throne.
Son himself condemned the killing as an act against humanity but, in a recent analyst presentation, he added that SoftBank has a responsibility to Saudi Arabia to deploy the capital and continue the Vision Fund.
ThePIFs role in Vision Fund it is the largest single investor has threatened to taint its efforts, with voices in Silicon Valley suggesting thatmany founders would prefer to take money from less-tainted sources. However, SoftBank has announced a number ofdeals in recent weeks including a$375 million investment in robotic food-prep startup Zume and$1.1 billion deal with glass maker View which contradicts that. Son himselfsaid he hadnt heard of any cases of startups refusing an investment from the Vision Fund, but he did admit that there may be some impact in the future.
Those investments havent stopped Coupang from taking an investment from the Vision Fund, and announcing it publicly, too.
The Vision Fund isa visionary fund [and]were proud to be selected to work in partnership with it, Coupang CEO Bom Kim told TechCrunch in an interview.
Kim said he doesnt expect a backlashfrom the investment, claiming that the tension around Khashoggis death doesnt represent us and doesnt represent these companies.
Taking a vast amount of money from a fund whose mainer backer is a country that (reportedly) murdered a journalist who dared criticize the regime isnt a good look. But ultimately, it remains to be seen how that will shake out. As the worlds waits on a fuller investigation from the CIA and responses from the Saudi royal family and SoftBanks Son, the incident certainly does have the potential to weigh on Coupangs positive news.
Korean e-commerce firm Coupang raises $2 billion from SoftBanks Vision Fund
Coupang CEO Bom Kim started the company in 2010, now it is valued at $10 billion. [Image via Coupang]
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«     2022    »