Light, a Redwood City, California-based camera startup, is on the hunt for backers after the world’s largest tech investor objected to putting more cash into the company, Bloomberg reported Monday (April 25).
SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese holding company, owns roughly 30% of Light. In 2018, Light announced a Series D funding round of $121 million, led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. The investment was set to be made in tranches, subject to certain conditions.
In that announcement, Light said its imaging platform enables machines to see like humans do, using sophisticated algorithms to combine images from multiple camera modules into a single quality image and enabling 3D depth extraction.
Hurt by plunging tech valuations, SoftBank is abandoning some of its loss-making portfolio companies to comply with stricter investment criteria, sources told Bloomberg. Many of the Vision Funds’ portfolio of more than 300 companies are reportedly losing money.
The Japanese investment firm said it would contribute to the fundraising effort if Light could find another major investor, one of the sources said. However, with SoftBank offering just a token amount, the source added that other investors are wary about investing.
“Their purse strings are tight as they have ever been,” the person said about Light.
Last month, Bloomberg reported that General Motors purchased SoftBank Vision Fund 1’s stake in Cruise, a self-driving startup, for $2.1 billion.
See also: GM Buys Out SoftBank to Get 80% of Self-Driving Startup Cruise
SoftBank has no involvement in the business, while GM holds 80% ownership. GM said it also plans to invest another $1.35 billion in Cruise, making up for the amount that SoftBank had planned to invest once Cruise deploys vehicles in a ride-sharing business, which it is now planning to do.
The deal did away with a capital diversification play that ex-Cruise CEO Dan Ammann was pushing, as Ammann was fired last December after pushing for an initial public offering (IPO).
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