Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank makes third Indian bet from Vision Fund 2; backs SaaS startup MindTickle

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November 16, 2020 3:54 PM

MindTickle investment is part of Son’s strategy to invest in AI-based solutions which according to SoftBank’s Q2 FY20 earnings presentation means “winners in AI are winners of the future.”

As of September 30, 2020, the Vision Fund had put 75 million dollars in 83 companies including Indian companies such as Paytm, Delhivery, Grofers, Policy Bazaar, OYO, Ola, etc.

Pune and San Francisco based software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup MindTickle, which helps businesses improve sales, has raised $100 million in a mix of equity and debt funding. The round was led by Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 while existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Canaan, NewView Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures also participated in the round. Eight-year-old artificial intelligence (AI)-led MindTickle, which defines itself as a sales readiness and enablement platform and serves over 200 emerging as well as Fortune 500 companies and others, would deploy capital towards expanding business globally and to enhance its “go-to-market activities” apart from “product innovation to close the loop on customer-facing readiness and in-field execution,” it said on Monday.

The investment has come amid businesses globally resettling themselves to the new normal of work-from-home environment that has put more focus on ensuring employee skills are updated and aligned to the remote working environment. “As customers become increasingly demanding and remote work becomes more common, organizations realize the need to reskill and upskill their employees on an ongoing basis to deliver value in each customer interaction. As a result, we have witnessed strong demand and usage growth from enterprise sales teams over the last few quarters,” said Krishna Depura, co-founder and CEO, MindTickle in a statement. The company helps customer-facing employees of a company with ongoing learning, role-playing, upskilling, and coaching to ensure that they have the right skills to drive revenues.

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“We believe that Sales Readiness is experiencing a paradigm shift, as enterprises face the new reality of hybrid-remote work,” said Munish Varma, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers. This also marked SoftBank’s first investment in Indian SaaS landscape. MindTickle investment is part of Son’s strategy to invest in AI based solutions which according to SoftBank’s Q2 FY20 earnings presentation means “winners in AI are winners of the future.” Vision Fund 2 has invested $2.6 billion in 13 companies including Unacademy and Lenskart as of September 30, 2020. The overall Indian enterprise software market was worth around $6.13 billion in 2020, as per Statista.

SoftBank Group had committed $5 billion to the second Vision Fund, which was launched in October 2019 targeting $108 billion size, in October this year up from $5 billion committed to the fund by the Group and its subsidiaries as of September 30, 2020. The group also announced, in its earnings release last week, that Vision Fund’s CEO Rajeev Misra, SoftBank’s COO Marcelo Claure, CSO Katsunori Sago, and Governor and Board Member of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan had resigned from its board.

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