Before joining SoftBank, Kristin spent around 10 years at Morgan Stanley as a technology investment banker. Kristin earned a bachelor of arts degree in government and economics from Harvard University.
- Class Technologies
- Treasure Data
What attracted you to the opportunity at SoftBank?
I was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley for about a decade, working with the best and brightest technology founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams. I found that I wanted to work closely with more early-stage founders—not just on financial transactions, but helping with their businesses broadly. The Vision Fund was exciting to me for the opportunity to work with founders who look at the world in completely different ways. These are people who are not making small changes within industries but rather changing entire industries. They’re thinking big, pushing the boundaries of the status quo, and constantly wondering what’s possible.
How can the SoftBank Vision Fund have a global impact?
We can learn so much from different types of commerce, communication, and engagement with communities around the world. The Vision Fund platform touches just about every region and sector. I believe that gives us a unique perspective and opportunity to influence the citizens of the world—how they talk, how they get their goods, how they interact with their friends. We aim to use capital and expertise to bring forward positive change in the world to create a better society for everyone. Our goal is to accelerate trends that can improve the lives of the human population in many different ways.
What do you look for in a founder?
Founders must be passionate about what they're building, because the job of founder often is a lonely one. I look for leaders with a lot of conviction. It’s one thing to be an amazing technologist, but I think successful founders are also able to motivate people—on their teams as well as within the industry. The ability to create a positive culture is important, too. A good culture helps keep everyone striving for the same goal. I also look for founders who have a unique—but realistic—view of the world and where the industry is going.
What can founders expect when working with you?
Founders should think of me as an extension of their teams. I've been involved in sports at competitive levels for most of my life. For example, I was the captain of Harvard’s field hockey team. I always try to bring a team mentality to my work relationships. I’ll help founders deliver on a lot of different fronts. They can expect me to get into the trenches and do some of the dirty work, but I’m also happy to help them think about the big picture. I’m all about rolling up my sleeves and supporting them throughout their journey.
Who is someone you admire?
The first person who comes to mind is my dad. He's a founder himself, and he runs a small business. I’ve always admired his work ethic and his perspective on teamwork and leadership. I’ve been surrounded by people with an entrepreneurial mindset for most of my life, which helps me appreciate how hard being an entrepreneur can be. There are a lot of highs, but there are plenty of lows. Coming from a family where taking risks and being entrepreneurial is valued, it certainly gives me a lot more empathy in the way I work with others.