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Former SoftBank Vision Fund Director Launches Payments Startup

Gillian Tan

(Bloomberg) -- A former SoftBank Vision Fund director -- one of three executives to leave the massive investment vehicle in recent months -- has founded payments startup Imagine, according to an investor presentation.

Ed Shrager left SoftBank Investment Advisers, the SoftBank Group Corp. affiliate that oversees the Vision Fund, in July, and is now Imagine’s chief executive officer. The San Francisco-based startup is building “next generation payment infrastructure” that’s focused on empowering merchants, according to the presentation, seen by Bloomberg.

Shrager was previously a board observer at freight forwarder Flexport, which in February secured $1 billion in a funding round led by the Vision Fund. He also helped oversee the firm’s investments in Cruise, the self-driving vehicle company backed by General Motors Co., and autonomous delivery startup Nuro Inc.

A representative for Imagine declined to comment on its fundraising and Shrager didn’t respond to a request for comment.

He’s the third director-level investment executive to leave the $100 billion Vision Fund in recent months. Sean Liu, a director who worked on the firm’s investment in Chinese used-car trading platform Guazi, this month was named chief financial officer of Legalist Inc., the litigation-finance firm said in a statement. Michelle Huang, who was involved in the Vision Fund’s investments in WeWork and ByteDance, left in September, according to people familiar with the matter.

Huang -- who previously worked at Blackstone Group Inc., according to her LinkedIn profile -- didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The trio of departures predated the recent resignation of Vision Fund partner David Thevenon. SoftBank is seeking more than $100 billion for the second iteration of the gargantuan investment vehicle.

A Vision Fund representative didn’t respond to requests for comment.

--With assistance from Giles Turner.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at agoldstein5@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, Vincent Bielski

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