Last March, Masayoshi Son figured OYO had the potential to disrupt both the staid hotel business and short-term apartment rentals in Japan, according to people in the room.
One bullet point, in particular, caught Son’s eye: a target of one million rooms within a year.
Today, the OYO unit handling apartments has about 7,500 rooms, less than 1% of the whiteboard target.
The shortfall reveals a fundamental flaw in SoftBank’s investment strategy: Pumping billions into startups and pushing them toward outsized growth often undermines promising businesses.
With its chaotic rush to expand in Japan, OYO infuriated potential partners, alienated workers and jeopardized its reputation with local customers, according to interviews with more than two dozen of them.
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