SoftBank banks on AI for fund management with $146 million investment in Qraft

The multinational investment giant will look into using AI to manage its own assets.

SoftBank on a box.

SoftBank thinks Qraft's AI tech could be the future of investing.

Photo: MIKI Yoshihito/Creative Commons

Can AI do investing better than highly-paid fund managers? SoftBank wants to find out.

The multinational investment giant is pumping $146 million into an AI-based fintech company called Qraft to see how to use AI to manage its own assets.

“We wanted to test how we could utilize AI, and we thought Qraft was the best way to do that,” Kentaro Matsui, managing partner of SoftBank’s investment advisory arm SB Investment Advisers, told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the investment.

According to WSJ, the investment is about access to the brains behind Qraft’s deep-learning algorithms as well as the tech itself.

Founded in 2016, Qraft uses deep-learning models fed with market data to generate Exchange Traded Funds, build portfolios, manage data and execute trades. The company’s name is an amalgam of the terms “quant” and “craft.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the company manages $1.7 billion for Asian banks and insurance companies including through its U.S.-listed ETFs.

A 2021 PWC report about the use of AI for investment management said asset managers were using AI tools to improve decision-making, operate more efficiently, save money and reduce risks.

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