Chris joined SoftBank Investment Advisers in 2019, when the Singapore office was first opened. With a degree in economics from the University of Chicago, Chris has spent most of his career in private equity, including working at GIC in Singapore and CVC Capital Partners in Hong Kong.
What drew you to this work?
While I started my career investing in more traditional sectors, I was always drawn to technology through witnessing its potential to transform people's lives for the better, especially here in Southeast Asia. I was continuously intrigued by how technology could help developing countries leapfrog various stages of development that most countries in the past had to go through. Disruption is occurring across all sectors, and being able to meet and work with founders that are at the forefront of these changes is incredibly exciting.
What kind of impact do you hope to have in your work?
I want to leverage the SoftBank platform to help founders make a larger impact than even they believe is possible. While we are in the world of business and need to generate returns for our limited partners, I like how the work we do is having a real impact on the lives of people, especially across the vibrant developing region of Southeast Asia. A meaningful number of the companies that SoftBank has partnered with in Southeast Asia are now embedded into many people’s everyday lives—making tasks easier, more accessible, faster, and more affordable. I want to continue to contribute to that kind of impact.
What kinds of qualities do you look for in founders?
I respect every founder I meet, given the risks they take in building a business and choosing this path versus easier careers where they would have done very well. With respect as an underlying principle, I like founders who are both nimble and have unwavering optimism. Building successful businesses is extremely difficult, especially with so many factors you have little to no control over. A key trait I have seen in successful businesses is the ability to adapt and pivot swiftly in response to changes in the environment—with conviction. As I continue to meet with founders, I notice that those with strong optimism tend to tackle problems with more curiosity than fear, and in more cases they end up with more positive results. Optimism is a mindset, and I like founders who have an inherent “my glass is full and overflowing” mentality.
What has been your biggest career insight?
I strongly believe in karma. I think that you get back what you put into the world and how you treat others. My life experiences have shown me that if I treat people with respect and honesty, the results may not be obvious immediately, but they definitely come back in the long run. And the same goes the other way around, when one uses disrespect and deceit against others. I apply this approach to my work. Even if we’re not the right partner for a certain company, I want the founder and his or her team to come away from the experience feeling that they were treated with respect and that they benefited in some way. It’s the right way to treat people, but also based on my strong belief that what goes around always comes around.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and three beautiful daughters, so I try to spend my free time with them. We enjoy the simple things—nights, ice cream runs, walks in the park—which are extremely joyful but also a great way to switch off from work and keep me balanced. I also have a golden retriever, Cosmo, and he is just a bundle of joy to spend time with on long walks, when I can.