Sumer Juneja, head of India at SoftBank Investment Advisers, has been handed additional responsibilities to overlook the investment firm’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business, while also calling the shots in India, according to a person in the know.
Juneja, having proved his mettle, was the automatically the top pick when CEO of company’s Vision Fund 1 (SVF1) Rajeev Misra and Softbank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son decided on filling Yanni Pipilis’ role, the source added. Pipilis, managing partner, EMEA, SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF), is set to part ways with the Japanese investment conglomerate and join Misra’s new investment venture, which will be launched soon from Abu Dhabi.
Munish Varma, managing partner, Americas SVF, will also tag along with Pipilis to join Misra, the source added.
In early July, sources had told FE that Misra – earlier the CEO of both SVF1 and SVF2 – had stepped down to become the vice-chairman of SVF2, while still helming SVF1. The move away from SVF2 was primarily to ‘avoid any conflict of interest’ with ideas for his new asset management firm.
SoftBank did not respond to FE’s queries till the time of going to press on Friday.
For SVF, India is still a sweet spot, relatively, even in a tech rout – valuations are anyway a market factor, the source added. Juneja is understood to have made about 14-16 investments so far in the country. In India, the Japanese investment arm has about 10-12 people who manage about $20 billion.
India accounts for about 8-10% of SoftBank VSF’s assets under management (AUM). The source added that nothing changes in India and will continue to function like a well oiled machine, helped by Narendra Rathi and Sarthak Misra, both investment directors at SoftBank Investment Advisers who will continue to work closely with their boss, Juneja.
The new role will see Juneja spend most of his time in London and only about a week in India, the source added.
Juneja joined SoftBank in December 2018, ending a nearly decade-long career at US-based Norwest Venture Partners, according to his LinkedIn profile. Juneja’s elevation to the dual role also comes at a time when SoftBank Group reported a record loss of $23.4 billion in the April-June quarter as tech stocks around the world plummeted on the back of increasing interest rates and soaring inflation.
To cope with those ‘dramatic’ losses, CEO Son, said the firm would consider reducing headcount and undertake other cost reduction strategies.
SoftBank, however, remains one of the largest foreign investors in India. Its portfolio companies in the country include Swiggy, Meesho, Lenskart, Delhivery, Paytm, among many others. Juneja is credited with materialising a bulk of those deals, the source concluded.