SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure says second Vision Fund will back AI revolution

Although the timetable for a second Vision Fund is not known, SoftBank Group COO Marcelo Claure acknowledged that most of the capital from the first near $100 billion Vision Fund has been deployed.

In addition, Claure said that SoftBank is indeed planning a second Vision Fund and it will go all in on artificial intelligence.

“We think [Vision Fund II] will be a significant fund, there is no change in investment philosophy, and we are betting only on companies that use AI,” Claure said.

Claure added that AI “will be the most amazing revolution that the world has ever experienced.”

Artificial intelligence has so far disrupted advertising and retail industries, and these two industries combined are only 7 percent of the GDP, he said. “We believe that 93 percent of GDP is still available for disruption and it will be disrupted in the next 10 or 20 years,” Claure said.

Claure made these comments while speaking on stage at the grand finale of the Startup World Cup on May 17 at the Masonic in San Francisco. Pegasus Tech Ventures organized the startup competition.

Earlier in May, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son went public with the Tokyo-based company’s plans to raise a second Vision Fund. Since its launch in May 2017, Vision Fund has invested in more than 80 companies, including FlipKart, Uber and WeWork.

In an on-stage interview with Pegasus CEO and General Partner Anis Uzzaman, Claure discussed SoftBank’s plans for Vision Fund II, AI’s potential to disrupt most industries and promised that SoftBank would invest in the top three finalists of the event’s competition.

The event was a culmination of a global series of conferences and competitions, bringing together 40 international startups for a chance to win a $1 million investment prize.

Later that day, Abivin, a Vietnam-based AI-powered logistics optimization provider, won the competition and the $1 million main prize. Klue, a Canadian platform that aggregates competitive intelligence, took second place. Sonavi Labs, a U.S.-based developer of modern medical products that analyze body sounds for the diagnosis of disease, came in third.

Claure is responsible for running operating companies of the SoftBank Group, including the Japanese conglomerate’s majority ownership in Sprint and Boston Dynamics. Additionally, Claure, a Bolivian native, manages a recently launched SoftBank Innovation Fund, a $5 billion fund focused on investing in technology startups across Latin America.

“Dream big, have passion, and remember to use AI,” were Claure’s final words of advice to the entrepreneurs at the event.