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The Big Take

SoftBank’s $100 Billion Fund for Startups Pays Too Little to Retain Top Talent

As the Japanese company prepares to distribute profits in December, some of its key startup investors have headed for the door.

Masayoshi Son

Masayoshi Son

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Ever since billionaire investor Masayoshi Son set up the giant Vision Fund in 2017 to provide backing for technology startups, he’s struggled with how to compensate his partners. He still hasn’t figured out how to keep them happy.

Son’s company, SoftBank Group Corp., is preparing to make the first distribution of profits to employees at the Vision Fund in December, according to people familiar with the matter. But the company’s eccentric approach to compensation is contributing to a stream of defections, say these people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Seven managing partners have left since March of last year, and the only senior managing partner, Deep Nishar, will depart by yearend. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.