SoftBank has a lesson for startups with WeWork coup: Your dreams had better be profitable

The Japan Times 

Masayoshi Son, long known as a free-spending benefactor who encouraged startup founders to pursue their dreams even if it meant losing billions of dollars, had a different message for entrepreneurs last week: Your dreams had better be profitable. The chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp. told company leaders gathered at the five-star Langham resort in Pasadena, California, that they need to become profitable soon and stressed the importance of good governance, according to a person who attended the event. Public investors aren't going to tolerate gimmicks, like super-voting rights or complicated share structures, that privilege founders over other stakeholders, he said, adding they should get in shape years before they consider going public. The "or else" part of the message became clear just days later when SoftBank led the ouster of WeWork's controversial co-founder, Adam Neumann. The co-working giant's plans to go public this month imploded, with investors balking at paying a premium for a money-losing real estate venture controlled by an eccentric founder.

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