nyc union square instagram

Following its successful investments in the Huffington Post, Buddy Media, and other New York City startups, Softbank Capital announced today that it has raised an additional $51 million for early-stage investments in NYC startups.

It’s a big local commitment by the firm — which has offices in Manhattan — but it’s not exactly surprising. I can barely keep up with all of the cool companies and innovations popping up in New York City, and Tumblr’s recent $1 billion acquisition by Yahoo has everyone here dreaming of huge exits.

Softbank Capital NY managing partner Jordan Levy, who’s managing the new fund, tells us the money will only be used for first or second round investments in local startups. While seed funding isn’t that tough to find in New York City, he points out that funding for early rounds is a bit tougher to find.

As Levy tells it, Softbank Capital’s sweet spot for investments would be between $3 million to $5 million. “We’ll try to focus on what we understand and known, which is e-commerce, mobile, and social,” he said.

Softbank Capital may end up matching investments with money from its other funds — it’s already raised more than $100 million for its Technology Fund ’10, and it recently received $20 million from Yahoo Japan.

The firm is the investment arm of Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank, which is in the midst of a bidding war for Sprint against Dish Network. Levy hinted that if the Sprint deal goes through (it just received security approval by the federal government) we may see SoftBank play an even bigger role in the U.S. technology world over the next few years, similar to its 90s heyday when it bought COMDEX and Ziff Davis.

Softbank Capital currently has 32 active investments in New York City, including Buzzfeed, Gilt Group, and Betaworks.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat