Sometimes you can see a tsunami out in the distance. From my perspective, a transformational wave is heading our way, and now is the right time to prepare for it.
The wave is Masayoshi Son's $100 billion Vision Fund. Essentially, it's the world's largest investment fund. How big is it? The Vision Fund is larger than any existing venture capital fund. In fact, it's raised more capital than the $64 billion raised by all of the world's VC funds in 2016, according to a recent article in The Economist.
Son was the founder of SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate with holdings in telecom and internet technology. In 2016, he teamed up with Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. The alliance gives Vision Fund unparalleled access to cash.
"The fund has already spent $30 billion, nearly as much as the $33 billion raised by the entire American VC industry in 2017, writes The Economist. "Even if the fund ends up flopping, it will have several lasting effects on technology investing ... the deployment of so much cash now will help shape the industries of the future."
For example, Son is investing in transformational new technologies such as robotics and the Internet of Things. He's also investing in disruptive firms like Uber and WeWork, which are dramatically reshaping the transportation and commercial real estate industries. Son was a backer of Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce company acquired last week by Walmart.
"In five years' time the fund plans to have invested in 70-100 technology unicorns, privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more," writes The Economist.
The big question today is how Silicon Valley will respond. Will the movers and shakers on Sand Hill Road rise to the challenge? Or will they wait patiently, hoping that Son's fund makes a fatal mistake?
According to The Economist, Son makes the investment decisions himself. That gives him incredible flexibility and unique speed. When he sees a good investment, he goes for it.
The size of his fund gives him unusual power and leverage. Son's rare ability to see across the tech industry and spot patterns that others miss creates huge opportunities. Make no mistake, Son is a major player in the world's economy and I sincerely doubt he will sit still if he sees a chance to disrupt a market or solidify a competitive advantage.
The purpose of this article isn't to praise Son or his investment fund. My goal is alerting you to the presence of an investor with the power and knowledge to shake up markets and upend the status quo.
Son clearly has the courage and tenacity to take calculated risks and place large bets. I strongly suggest that you keep a sharp eye on his investments over the next 18 months and decide for yourself if he's betting on you to win -- or betting on you to lose.