Jeff Housenbold, managing partner of the SoftBank Vision Fund
SoftBank’s Jeff Housenbold, who led the Vision Fund’s investments in companies such as DoorDash, OpenDoor, and Wag, will leave the company later this year.
SoftBank messed up the investment world in Silicon Valley with the first Vision Fund in 2017, ultimately raising $ 100 billion, largely funded by the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Japanese company had aimed for an even larger amount for Vision Fund 2, but scaled it back significantly last year after many of its high-priced investments stalled.
In a memo broadcast internally on Friday and viewed by CNBC, Vision Fund head Rajeev Misra said Housenbold is leaving to “run his own business”. Housenbold has been with the Vision Fund through its ups and downs and led some of the best-known deals with mixed results.
“As many of you know, Jeff was my first job and for the past three and a half years he has successfully led our investments in 17 companies in Fund 1 and Fund 2 including DoorDash (DASH), Opendoor (OPEN), Compass, Rappi, Alto and Memphis Meats, “wrote Misra in the memo.
Axios previously reported on his departure. Housenbold confirmed the move on Twitter.
Housenbold, who was previously CEO of Shutterfly, had a strong end of 2020 with DoorDash’s IPO and Opendoor’s public debut through a special purpose vehicle. According to FactSet, SoftBank’s stake in the DoorDash grocery delivery app has risen to $ 12 billion, with stocks rising since going public. According to FactSet, the stake in the real estate company OpenDoor is around 2 billion US dollars.
He also had some losers. In 2018, he led a $ 300 million investment in the dog walking app Wag before selling the Vision Fund’s stake back to the company less than two years later when the business was struggling. Also in 2018, the Vision Fund invested $ 240 million in the e-commerce start-up Brandless, with Housenbold taking a board seat. The company closed early last year and was later recapitalized.
Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the SoftBank Vision Fund.
Tom DiChristopher | CNBC
Housenbold spoke to CNBC in March 2020 as SoftBank looked at the aftermath of the WeWork disaster and Uber’s fighting while preparing for a slowdown caused by the pandemic. He was one of the company’s executives considering “Plan Bs”.
“If the markets are in a prolonged 12 to 24 month slump and there is no access to public markets, we must try to raise additional capital at the company level,” said Housenbold at the time. “There is debt, there are equity investors, there are mergers and acquisitions.”
Misra said in the memo that Housenbold will stay with the Vision Fund for six months and then serve as senior advisor to Misra and SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son.
– CNBC’s Alex Sherman contributed to this report
CLOCK: Managing Partner of the Softbank Vision Fund at Opendoor SPAC