Saudi-backed SoftBank's Vision Fund promotes Lydia Jett to partner

Bloomberg/Kiyoshi Ota

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In December, the fund announced the hiring of Facebook executive Kirthiga Reddy as its first female partner to focus on frontier and enterprise technology globally, working closely with Senior Managing Partner Deep Nishar.

Sunday 24, March 2019

(Bloomberg) --SoftBank Group has promoted Lydia Jett to partner at its $100 billion Vision Fund, the second woman to join the ranks of a group that oversees the world’s largest technology investments.

Jett joined SoftBank four years ago, leading and managing global investments in consumer internet and e-commerce companies. She’s a board member of Tokopedia and Coupang, the largest online marketplaces in Indonesia and South Korea, respectively. She sat on the board of Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart before Walmart acquired the company last year.

Lydia Jett, said, “The promotion empowers me and my team and other women of the Vision Fund to continue the work that we do.”

“It puts another woman in the room, the work is the same work I’ve been doing for years, which is being laser focused on finding the best companies, and building and mentoring the team,” added Jett.

With an unprecedented amount of capital, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and the Vision Fund’s partners are powerful forces in Silicon Valley. All the managing partners are men, with several coming from banking backgrounds. Rajeev Misra, who made his name building up trading operations at Deutsche Bank, is Chief Executive Officer of SoftBank Investment Advisers, which oversees the Vision Fund.

Misra said last year that he’s leading an effort to hire more women, including as managing partners. Jett, who previously worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase and in private equity at Goldman Sachs Group, will continue to work closely with Managing Partner Colin Fan.

William Tanuwijaya, the founder and CEO of Tokopedia, said that Jett has been instrumental in helping the company close its billion dollar-plus fundraising rounds over the past several years and introducing his e-commerce start-up to other companies in SoftBank’s portfolio. “She is very honest, the no BS type,” Tanuwijaya said in an email. “She is always there when we need her and supports us -- whether it’s day or night, by phone or in person, regardless of timezone.”

Jett said she identifies and vets companies globally that should be part of the fund, and brings her decisions to Son and an investment committee. Sometimes it takes little convincing, and sometimes it takes a lot, she said. Jett was a board member of Indian e-commerce start-up Snapdeal from 2016 to 2017, when she was also observing the massive growth at Flipkart. After Snapdeal walked away from a proposed merger with its rival, Jett worked with Son to make the fund’s $2.5 billion investment in Flipkart in 2017. “It was very controversial when the outside world saw this as a market that Amazon was going to win,” she said.

TAGS : SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, Vision Fund, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs

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