SoftBank Vision Fund to Cut 30% of Global Workforce

According to Bloomberg reports, the investment department of the Vision Fund under the Japanese multinational company SoftBank Group is preparing to lay off 30% of its global employees, a total of about 150 staff.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank Group, publicly stated that the reason is that the valuation of the companies invested in has fallen sharply, and SoftBank Group has collectively suffered a record quarterly loss.

The group lost about 3.2 trillion yen ($23.4 billion) in the three-month period through June, with $17.3 billion tied to the Vision Fund, according to Bloomberg.

SoftBank Vision Fund is a venture capital fund founded in 2017 and is part of SoftBank Group. With more than $100 billion in capital, it is the world’s largest technology-focused portfolio investment fund. In 2019, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 was established. As of March 31, 2021, the combined fair value of the two funds was $154 billion.

The second phase of the Vision Fund has invested in 269 companies, and the investment cost is about 48.2 billion US dollars. As of the end of June, the value was only 37.2 billion US dollars.

The Vision Fund has invested in many companies, such as Uber and Didi. From April to June, the Vision Fund lost $23.1 billion.

Japan’s SoftBank invested $200 million into the Mercado Bitcoin crypto exchange in Brazil, which is considered the largest capital raised through a Series B funding round in Latin America’s history in 2021.

In August, Softbank Ventures also invested in MarqVision, a startup known for its Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered platform.

The startup fights to counterfeit with an “advanced technology that effectively removes knockoffs and digital piracy – including product images, NFTs, and more.”

To raise cash, SoftBank has pulled out of companies such as Uber and property sales platform Opendoor Technologies for $5.6 billion.

Z Holdings, the internet subsidiary of Japanese multinational SoftBank Group, plans to launch a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by the end of this year, according to reports.

The marketplace aims to help the company hit its mid-term revenue goals by capitalizing on the growing craze surrounding digital collectibles. A market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is planned to be launched by the end of this year.

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SoftBank-Backed Web3.0 Startup MarqVision Pulls $20M in Series A Funding

MarqVision, a startup known for its Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered platform for helping firms maintain the integrity of their products, has announced it has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round.


Prominent investors, including DST Global Partners and Atinum Investments, joined other existing investors like Softbank Ventures, Bass Investment, and Y-Combinator to fund the company.

MarqVision occupies a very pivotal position in the blockchain-backed creative industry of today. The startup combats counterfeiting through a “developed technology that enables efficient removal of counterfeits and digital piracy – including product images, NFTs, and more.” 


The startup does this by digitizing the traditional counterfeiting measures and ensuring that they operate end-to-end. With many brands contracting the startup for its ingenuity, the startup noted that its “proprietary AI models detect counterfeits with 95%+ accuracy and remove counterfeit sales at scale.”


“Creative assets are under assault in today’s digital world, with content owners left largely unprotected as consumers get hoodwinked into buying fake goods and NFTs by sophisticated counterfeiters,” said Mark Lee, co-founder and CEO of MarqVision. “With this new round of funding, we can accelerate our mission of building the world’s first IP operating system to give brand owners full control of their IP portfolios.”


While MarqVision’s technology is currently used to secure more than 1,500 platforms today, the startup hopes to expand its service offerings in the near term to also cover all “aspects of creation, management, protection, and monetization of IP rights through a single IP operating system.”


Innovators floating technologies that are centred on protecting the IP of others have been increasingly getting the nod from venture capital firms. Also, data security firms are not left behind as CertiK comes off as one of the startups that has raised humongous funds this year with backing from the likes of American banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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bloXroute Raises $70M in Series B Funding to Speed up DeFi transactions

As a critical infrastructure provider for quick decentralized finance (DeFi) trades on Ethereum, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain, bloXroute has raised $70 million in Series B funding to boost its quest of reducing latency on blockchain networks. 

bloXroute, a blockchain distribution network (BDN) meant to enhance blockchain scalability, completed the funding campaign spearheaded by SoftBank. The other participants included Rockaway Blockchain Fund, ParaFi Capital, Lightspeed, Jane Street, Flybridge, Flow Traders, Dragonfly, and Blindspot.

The quest for lightning speeds

With a DeFi transaction volume of more than $1.5 billion daily, bloXroute’s objective is to render lightning speeds in the decentralized finance arena.

bloXroute enables DeFi traders to win more transactions by avoiding network congestion through a distributed infrastructure meant for mempool services and block propagation. Per the report:

“bloXroute’s unique network topology offers up to 2 seconds faster block propagation, up to 1 second faster transaction propagation, and 50-400 milliseconds faster transaction discovery (also known as mempool services).”

Aaron Wong, an investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers, stated:

“bloXroute’s global distribution network enables unparalleled transaction settlements for trading, and we foresee exciting use cases to emerge in industries such as NFTs, blockchain-based metaverses, and gaming. We are thrilled to partner with Uri and the team to help build a blockchain superhighway with uncongested performance.” 

He added:

“We believe that bloXroute holds the key to unlocking faster transaction speeds and reduced latency on multiple blockchain networks.”

With the DeFi sector taking the world by storm, the company intends to make transactions less cumbersome for optimal returns. 

Haseeb Qureshi, a managing partner at Dragonfly, pointed out:

“DeFi has exploded in growth over the last couple of years, but DeFi infrastructure is still in its infancy. We are excited to be in business with bloXroute, and believe this partnership will accelerate mainstream DeFi acceptance and bring real solutions to the DeFi space.”

Given that bloXroute is designed for the rapid dissemination of blockchain blocks, it propels decentralization by minimizing wasted miner efforts. Uri Klarman, the co-founder and CEO of bloXroute, added:

“This investment enables us to expand our team, extend our reach, and continue making the propagation of data more efficient and reliable.”

Meanwhile, Investcorp, a global manager of alternative investment products, recently launched the first institutional blockchain fund in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aimed at propelling a blockchain-powered digital evolution.

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Privacy-focused applications platform Aleo raises $200M

Zero-knowledge applications platform Aleo has raised $200 million in a solid investment round, pushing the company forward and supporting its goals to develop products and services that encourage and assist developers in building applications on top of its decentralized network.

The Series B investment round was led by Kora Management LP and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, which invest in fintech projects within emerging digital economies. Samsung Ventures also participated in the raise along with Tiger Global, Sea Capital, Slow Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Aleo is building a network that integrates zero-knowledge proofs, a cryptography technique that lets the platform become scalable, private and interoperable.

Aaron Wong, an investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers says that Aleo is creating a foundation that ensures that Web3 is scalable, safe and secure. Wong added that this will enhance financial transactions and gaming applications as well.

“As the blockchain industry continues to evolve, it is proving its potential to support a digital ecosystem defined by accessibility, efficiency, and interoperability.

Daniel Jacobs, Founder at Kora Management LP says that the biggest challenges in the industry are privacy and scalability. According to Jacobs, Aleo “will have profound impacts on a large and growing number of applications in the blockchain space and beyond.”

Related: a16z-backed TrueFi launches DeFi lending market for asset managers

Jacobs explained that the project could protect user and application identity without giving up on performance that’s required to support many users. He also further noted that Aleo will become a catalyst that spurs the next generation of gaming, decentralized finance, and other use cases within the blockchain industry.

As Cointelegraph reported in April, Aleo secured $28 million in a private investment round to bring its platform for zero-knowledge applications to a wider audience. Venture capital firm a16z led the effort followed by investments from Coinbase Ventures, Galaxy Digital, and others.