Softbank appoints Sumer Juneja to drive investments in India


Masayoshi Son led Softbank has finally chosen a name to fulfill their vacant role of India’s head after searching for over three years. The Japanese investment behemoth has appointed Sumer Juneja to lead the investments into one its most lucrative markets.

Juneja will be resigning his role of being a director at US-based VC –  Norwest Venture Partner’s India office to join Softbank. After serving the firm for long-term of 9 years, this will be a significant rise in his career.

To analyse the factors behind Softbank finally landing on his name, we have to look at Juneja’s work at NVP India, and how it aligns with Softbank’s plan in India.

Juneja at Norwest VP played a key role in leading the VC to invest in Indian foodtech giant Swiggy in 2015 and has also served on the company’s board as an observer since then.

Meanwhile, Softbank has been looking to invest in Indian food technology space for a while. It had approached Swiggy for investment in November 2017, and had later also been in talks with Swiggy’s top rival Zomato since May this year, but hasn’t been able to finalise on any of the deal till now.

With Juneja leading Softbank’s India investments, the first thing that the startup economy can expect is Softbank’s final call to invest either in Swiggy or Zomato. 

Other than Swiggy, Juneja has also been a part of investments in Quikr, National Stock Exchange, Sambhav Infrastructure, several financial institutions, and banks. He also serves on the board of several companies including Bharti Infratel, IRB Infrastructures, IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd., Cremica, and OnMobile.

On Softbank’s front, the investment giant’s current focus in the Indian market is on logistics and e-commerce, apart from foodtech. The Japanese VC, which has invested over $8 billion in the Indian economy, has been looking to invest in online and offline retailer FirstCry and is in the final leg of investing in logistics firm Delhivery.

With his close encounters with the infrastructure and logistics firm, Juneja is also poised to bring further insight into Softbank on the logistics investment front.

After Softbank’s $4 billion worth exit from Flipkart in May this year, the firm has been doubling down on investments in the country’s market, and it would be interesting to witness how the future of the Indian startup economy turns out with Juneja heading the Indian investment arm of Softbank.

This development was first reported by ET.

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