Managing Partner, Americas
What brought you to the Vision Fund?
SoftBank is a platform for doing interesting and important things that can’t be done elsewhere. I think that’s true for the founders we work with and for everyone on the team. That’s why I first joined SoftBank Group, which was actually before SoftBank Investment Advisers and the Vision Fund even existed. I had the privilege of working closely with Rajeev and our whole team for seven months to create the Fund, flying around the world to help manage the process and negotiate. It was and continues to be an incredible opportunity to be involved in projects that are big and complex and influential. That’s Masa and SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Now that the Fund is established, what is your work like?
I invest and work with our companies. For example, I helped lead the transaction that led to the Fund’s investment in Uber. And now, anything and everything that pertains to that investment, small or large, my team helps manage, as we are the relationship lead. The same holds true for the Fund’s investment in ByteDance in China. I feel very lucky to be involved with helping these incredible companies all over the world. (A full list of portfolio companies can be found here.)
You’re focused on sustainable investing. What does that cover?
For us, “sustainable investing” encompasses a number of exciting areas of investment: (1) fundamental infrastructure plays -- think transportation (e.g. Uber), food systems, water, energy, etc., (2) sustainable consumption and materials, (3) new ways of organizing work among distributed workforces, and (4) women’s focused ideas.
What kind of founders are the best match for the Vision Fund?
There's no one template for assessing that. We just have a lot of conversations with them. A big piece of it is how they talk about their end goal. If they are satisfied with their success and want to shore that up, that’s fine. But it’s the ones who are still really hungry that get us interested— the ones who are talking about something huge. If their idea sounds sort of half-crazy, that's good.
So what do you say to those founders?
We offer them capital, connections, and resources to expand their ambition exponentially. Our whole ecosystem can help them get where they want to go faster and more successfully than they could on their own. And we are very long-term in our orientation. We are excited to support them in their journey toward reaching their full potential.
There's no decision that is made without emotion. No decision is truly analytical and logical. There's fear; there's optimism; there's giddiness; there's ambition. There's desire for reputation, or avoidance of reputational harm. So when you're dealing with people, be nice.
What piece of advice would you give someone who’s just starting out in your line of work?
Be nice. We're all people. There's no decision that is made without emotion. No decision is truly analytical and logical. There's fear; there's optimism; there's giddiness; there's ambition. There's desire for reputation, or avoidance of reputational harm. So when you're dealing with people, be nice. That's it.
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