Former Mossad director Yossi Cohen, who led the covert organization to a string of successful exploits over the last decade, will be taking a new role as director of the Israeli branch of Softbank, which is one of the largest investment firms in the world.
Softbank is a Japanese investment firm headed by Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire who specializes in tech investments. 20 years ago Son invested 20 million dollars in the relatively unknown Ali Baba site, an investment now worth more than 30 billion dollars. Son also has the unfavorable distinction of losing the most money in history, losing approximately $70bn during the dot com crash of 2000.
Despite this, Softbank has flourished with its Vision Fund One now managing more than 100 billion dollars, the most dominant hi-tech hedge fund in the world. The fund has invested in Uber, Tiktok, and many others as well as in Israeli hi-tech firms Trax, Redis Labs Anyvision and Cybereason.
Cohen will lead the local activities of Vision Fund two which manages 30 billion dollars and his goal will be to establish a local branch of investment which will locate Israeli companies that fit the investment portfolio of the company. He will also help locate global markets for Softbank in particular within Asia.
Cohen does not have a background in finance but one of the reasons for his choice according to the Globes magazine is his popularity as a charismatic figure in Israel who has many relationships within the Arab world due to his previous position. Cohen is considered capable of connecting Israeli entrepeneurship and technology with other companies, governments or public authorities requiring their services.
Yanni Pilipis, a managing partner at Softbank, told Globes that “when we met Mr. Cohen, we were excited by the possibility of working togethere. He is very connected to Israeli industry in general and his ability to leverage his global connections is critical for connecting local entrepeneurs to world industry, especially that which is based on AI (Artificial Intelligence). We are very proud of our ability to connect between local companies and 200 other companies worldwide which we are involved in. Cohen’s international experience and acquaintance with Asia, Japan and the Middle East are a great asset for us.”