CEO and founder of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, said he is “embarrassed” over the company’s poor performance of key investments in 2019. In an interview with Japan’s Nikkei Business magazine, the billionaire revealed he is conscious and flustered over his businesses’ poor track record compared with other American and Chinese tech giants.
“I am still far away from achieving results, so I’m embarrassed and flustered. I strongly feel that I have not done enough when I compare myself with the growth of American and Chinese companies,” he told the magazine.
To date, two of Softbank’s recent investments have been in a rocky stretch – with shares of Uber sliding down by 30% and WeWork withdrawing from its planned IPO earlier this month.
In a report from Fortune, Chris Lane, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said Uber’s disappointing quarterly results may cost Softbank a $3.54 billion drop in its Uber stake. Moreover, WeWork’s recent IPO withdrawal is also expected to cut Softbank’s valuation to $15 billion from $24 billion.
“Lately, I’ve been telling entrepreneurs to “know your limits.” Knowing your own limitations gives rise to endless possibilities. Because I understand that my abilities are limited, I’ve surrounded myself with entrepreneurs who are more talented than me, and by letting them take the lead, infinite possibilities come to light,” the tech investor added.
Masayoshi Son has an estimated net worth of $18.9 billion. In 1986, he established SoftBank, a mobile telecom and investment firm. To date, the company holds a total of ¥204 billion in common stock and ¥3,746 billion in net sales.
When asked about his ultimate goal, Mr. Son said he is currently working on building a group of strategic holdings.
“Through the Vision Fund, I’m gathering like-minded entrepreneurs and vastly expanding our influence with a “cluster” strategy. Narrowly focusing on artificial intelligence as the source of growth, we are building up the group. We have only just started, but I feel this has enormous potential,” he explained.