Managing Partner, Head of Equity Capital Markets
Prior to joining Softbank, Mark was head of Goldman Sachs’ Japan Securities Division and co-head of APAC equity trading. In addition, Mark is a co-owner of the Seattle Sounders Football Club and active on the boards of several non-profit organizations. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Economics and Political Science and is a CFA charterholder.
Were you always drawn to the kind of work you’re doing now?
I came to it over the course of a number of years. I went to college to become an engineer, but I found myself more interested in people and how they work, so I switched gears and developed an interest in law. Then, before heading off to law school, I took what I thought would be a short detour to Japan. That’s where I was introduced to finance and decided I wanted to be a trader. I spent almost 20 years in various positions with Goldman Sachs. Then I did my own angel investing for 3 years and developed an interest in venture capital.
This is the kind of job that never gets old, because we’re always pushing into new territory and finding new challenges.
What drew you to the SoftBank Investment Advisers?
I wasn’t planning to take another job, but the SBIA opportunity was too compelling. I like meeting new people, and especially being exposed to new ideas. Coming from my own work as an angel investor, this was a chance to work more deeply with founders and to grow along with them. This is the kind of job that never gets old, because we’re always pushing into new territory and finding new challenges.
Is there a particular philosophy that guides your work?
I don’t know if this qualifies as a philosophy, but I do have a few guiding principles. I believe in honest, timely feedback. I want to know when I have done something well and when I haven’t. I try to do the same for my team, even when it’s uncomfortable. Also, as a leader, I think it is very important to show consistency between what you say and do. This also is not always easy, but it leads to a culture of trust and accountability. Finally, I think you get the best outcomes when you have a diversity of people and opinions, so I try to cultivate both.
What gets you the most excited about this work?
At Goldman I worked on publicly traded companies. A defining feature of public markets is that the market price already reflects most of what is known about each company. Also, information about each company is easily accessible. None of that is true for private investing, so the work you put into understanding each company is much more important. That's very interesting to me. I like the fact that you get rewarded for spending time and asking the right questions.
What’s the most interesting investment you’ve made?
My wife and I have recently invested in the Seattle Sounders, a Major League Soccer team. I’ve always loved soccer, and when one of the longtime owners indicated his intention to sell, we joined with a group of families to purchase the stake. We were living in Hawaii at the time, which has no professional team, so we had taken to supporting the Sounders remotely. I can’t say that I get to as many games as I’d like to, especially now that we’re living in London, but I go whenever I can.