Prior to joining SoftBank Investment Advisers in 2017, Max was a mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets banker with Moelis & Company. He holds a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oxford.
What got you going on this path?
Growing up and throughout my education, I was always fascinated by electronics and computers, building circuits and reading coding books at home. I entered corporate finance after I graduated, mostly advising large “old-school” clients. The whole time, I was craving to do something more directly connected to technology and more forward thinking. That is why I jumped at the chance to join SBIA’s London office in 2017, the year the SoftBank Vision Fund was launched. I had developed a real passion for finance by that time, and I always loved tech, so this is really the perfect job for me.
What’s the most exciting part of this work?
It’s our job to try to predict the future—to anticipate how potential portfolio companies might grow and benefit from our involvement. Then, because we take the long view here, we stay with them, and years later you can look back on the development of your predictions. I love that process—revisiting assumptions with the benefit of hindsight. It's always really humbling.
Is there a particular philosophy that guides your work?
I think this is the kind of work where you are always learning. So that’s how I approach my interactions with founders, and it’s what I look for in them. When you go into a meeting and there’s a management team in sales mode—exaggerating wins and downplaying challenges—I know that it’s probably not going to work out. I would much prefer to work with a team that is willing to be transparent about their struggles. That’s the best basis for a partnership, to figure things out together.
How would you describe your colleagues?
I’ve developed some strong friendships here, with people who aren’t afraid to challenge my ideas or to have me challenge their thinking. It’s impossible to be certain about forecasting the future, but ultimately we need to form views—and I think an absolute meritocracy is the best way to do that. That’s why I love taking time at the end of the day just to bounce ideas off them.
What’s something that surprises people about you?
When I was a kid, my parents bought me a unicycle for Christmas, and I actually learned how to ride it. I haven’t ridden one for many years at this point, but perhaps with some practice I could still do it if a unicycle were to cross my path.