A new Bloomberg report published on Wednesday has exposed the “chaotic culture” within SoftBank’s Vision Fund, where CEO Masayoshi Son and his associates’ internal behavior seems to shed light on the Japanese conglomerate’s investment strategy over the past two years.
Examples of eccentric behavior by executives, including Adam Neumann-esque barefoot style and in-office vaping, has raised questions about the operation’s work atmosphere. One anecdote recalled chief financial officer Navneet Govil allegedly berating employees with racist and bigoted language, including dropping comments like, “Chinese people sound stupid,” among others.
Another example of the workplace’s reportedly grotesque “macho” behavior included inappropriate comments during investment meetings, one in which managing partner Jeff Housenbold allegedly remarked that fitness startup Peloton’s virtual classes are appealing to men who use them for masturbation. The Vision Fund, which didn’t end up investing in the now-public startup, denied the comment was ever made.
This culture built by Son’s hirings of Wall Street executives, who were recruited to go out and invest in the next founder-driven unicorn, is said to have contributed to the financial mistakes that the $100 billion dollar Vision Fund has made recently. With the fund having poured billions of dollars into money-losing companies like WeWork, Uber and now dog walking service Wag, Son and his cohorts have been left without a return on their giant investments.
“My passion and dream is more than 100 times bigger than what I have achieved so far,” Son said earlier this month. “I’m not doing it as a job. It’s fun. I cannot stop. I want to create an organization that can last and continue to become more and more important.”