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SoftBank CEO Masa Son claims the company has already bagged $3 billion in profit

Son pulls back the curtain a tiny bit on how the controversial Vision Fund is doing.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son onstage with the Pepper robot Koki Nagahama / Getty

If you think SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son is overzealously pursuing overvalued startups with his oversized global megafund, then he would like you to know that things are actually going quite well.

Son on Wednesday pushed back on long-simmering criticism of his $100 billion Vision Fund, which Recode has reported is only the first iteration of a colossal tech investment that could climb to almost $900 billion. Son disclosed before his single largest investor, the government of Saudi Arabia, that the Vision Fund had taken home $3 billion in profit and so far had earned about a 22 percent return over the last five months, based on current valuations.

“Good start. Not bad,” he said with a smile at the first Future Investment Initiative, a high-wattage conference hosted by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Over the last year, Son’s investments have sharply divided SIlicon Valley venture capitalists. Some attack him for foolishly driving up already high valuations; defenders say he is merely committed to gaining ownership stakes in this generation’s defining companies, even if it means paying a higher price.

In fact, Son is a skeptic of the conventional wisdom that tech companies are overvalued at all.

“This is the beginning,” he said, pitching a world full of robots (which will stay “cute” but grow “a million times smarter.”) “No, I wouldn’t call this a peak.”

So to earn a foothold in the most innovative companies, Son is plotting future Vision Funds that would drastically reshape Silicon Valley finance. About $336 billion was invested in tech last year by venture capital and private equity firms, according to PItchBook.

“Each fund could be maybe the same size — but I will do it more frequently,” he said.

“People said it’s too much,” Son said of his $100 billion budget. “I say it’s too little. It’s not that much. We are already investing at the pace — it’s not going to take five years. It’s going to be much less.”

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