Your focus areas are mobility, logistics, media, and gaming. How are those all connected to each other?
At first glance these areas seem unrelated, but they actually overlap in interesting ways. For example, video game engines are incredibly sophisticated and can now produce environments that are almost indistinguishable from reality. While this makes for thrilling game play, applied differently, video game engines can help train autonomous driving algorithms, which is a key area of focus for us. This type of convergence across sectors is what makes my work so exciting.
How do you describe your role here?
What we’re doing is unique within the capital markets. The Vision Fund is providing support for entrepreneurs who we believe are building some of the most disruptive and audacious businesses in the world. My job is to partner with these founders to help them fully utilize SoftBank Investment Advisers’ diverse resources and more quickly achieve their goals.
What are you looking for in terms of impact?
Change often comes from the most surprising places, ones that are sort of staid and forgotten, like car rentals or parking. People ask, where’s the room for innovation there? It turns out, there can be quite a bit. Parking, for example, can become a lynchpin of the on-demand economy. So when we partner with founders in that area, we are inspired by the potential to help them revolutionize their industry. It's about understanding how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and seeing the big picture.
We don't think solely in terms of stand-alone investments. We're always asking how a founder and company will play across our ecosystem.
How do you support that complete puzzle?
That's where our ecosystem comes in. We don't think solely in terms of stand-alone investments. We're always asking how a founder and company will play across our ecosystem—what mutual benefits do they bring across the portfolio? So, does a parking company bring something interesting to a carshare or ride-hailing service? Can it enhance our food-delivery partners? It’s about more than bringing capital into the equation. Our connections and their amplifying effect get to the heart of what we're doing here.
What first drew you to this line of work?
I’ve been around technology, investing, and entrepreneurship since I was young. My grandfather was a Chinese restaurant entrepreneur in Utah; his experience showed me that a strong vision, passion, and hard work can lead to success, even if what you’re doing is different and unfamiliar. Similarly, my mother worked for companies in the semiconductor, software, and internet spaces and spurred my fascination with technology when she bought me my first computer, a Gateway 486DX2. On that same computer, she showed me how to invest in technology stocks in the late ’90s, which paid for my college education. It’s these formative experiences that make what we do feel so natural and exciting to me.
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