Gets $200M Bankroll From Softbank

Newly created Internet incubator announced today that it has received $200 million (US$) in capital from Softbank, the internationally-recognized Japanese Internet investor.

The Dana Point, California-based — which was created by founder Scott Blum — will be a Southern California affiliate of Softbank’s new HotBank Network. Blum also chipped in $20 million of his own money to start the venture, the company said.

Blum was the chairman of and the e-commerce superstore founder, but a company spokeswoman told theE-Commerce Times that he resigned in August. “My experience at was very rewarding,” he commented. “I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs and I’m excited that through, I will be able to utilize my financial position and my strategic business knowledge to help create a developmental path of success for entrepreneurs.”

Four Ventures A Year will focus upon four Internet-related start-ups a year. The company said it already has three in its stable:, a provider of Internet shopping and e-commerce services;, which is working on developing an interactive fax broadcasting Web site; and, a new marketing company that will supply consumers with free computers in exchange for signing up with major Internet Service Providers.

ThinkTank said it would customize the business strategy of the start-ups it takes on and provide senior executive talent and a full range of support for approximately one year before the company “graduates from ThinkTank as a full-fledged enterprise and a high-tech magnet.”

That support includes seed capital, equity investments, marketing and branding strategy, as well as administrative, legal and human resource support.

Blum knows a little something about Softbank’s ability to financially back a start-up. was provided with $225 million of venture capital from Softbank after being founded in 1996. The company, which offers discount prices on thousands of goods, is currently preparing for an initial public offering.

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