Managing Partner, Americas
Brett joined SBIA in 2022 with 20+ years of global growth investing experience. Prior to SoftBank, he spent 15 years at General Atlantic, where he served as global co-head of the technology sector, led GA’s Silicon Valley office and expanded the firm’s investments in Asia, Latin America and Israel. Several of Brett’s prior investments include Alibaba Group, Airbnb, Altair Engineering, AppDynamics, Box, IHS Markit, Meituan, MercadoLibre, Nubank, and Uber. He began his career as an analyst in Morgan Stanley’s Technology Group in Menlo Park and helped to open their office in Tel Aviv. Brett attended NYU Stern as a University Scholar and also earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is currently a trustee at NYU and serves on the Leadership Council at Tipping Point Community, a nonprofit fighting poverty in the San Francisco Bay Area.
How did you get interested in business?
When I was 13, I received some shares of McDonald’s stock from my aunt and uncle for my bar mitzvah. I had already been reading about Warren Buffett and other business titans for years. I read the Washington Post daily and followed the stock charts in the Wall Street Journal. I just loved investing and still do.
I was born in the Washington D.C. area, and was also very interested in politics. I once wrote in my yearbook that I would run for president in 2016. But after a summer internship on Capitol Hill, I had no more interest in politics as a career. Business has its fair share of politics, but I like being who I am as opposed to having to morph myself to achieve particular political goals.
What is your investment philosophy?
I have formed an investment model I call “the four Ms”. The first M is market: finding a long-term opportunity to disrupt, enable, and expand a part of the economy in very positive ways. The second M is management: finding entrepreneurs with the idealism, tenacity and fortitude to power through the tough times and make it happen. Third is the business model. A SaaS company with recurring, high margin revenue is one of the best in the world. And the fourth M is for money: figuring out the investment, at what valuation, and how you can structure it to achieve your risk-adjusted return objectives.
What’s an example of an investment of this philosophy in action?
My first investment at SoftBank is a company called Remote. The shift to remote and hybrid work is a permanent, massive change, and companies now have the ability to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world. Co-founders Job van der Voort and Marcelo Lebre understand the opportunity intimately and are building a highly recurring revenue model with some of the highest net renewal rates that we have seen as their very satisfied customer base expands their employee bases globally.
What attracted you to SoftBank Investment Advisers?
As a student of investing, I’ve revered Masa since I was an analyst at Morgan Stanley. His initial investment in Alibaba in 2000 is the best investment in history. That $20 million has returned more than $100 billion in gains. So it caught my attention when I saw that SoftBank was raising a $100 billion fund back in 2017. You can do so much with that capital to impact and improve the world.
What’s the most critical factor for founders dealing with the ups and downs of the tech sector?
Long term optimism. I started my career in tech in the ultimate boom years of 1999/2000, which was followed by the ultimate bust year of 2001. While certainly there were many flameouts, the pillars of the internet were built and have propelled trillions of dollars in value creation. The key is to be able to navigate and ride the waves in technology trends, and identify and partner with the right long term investors to help you achieve your highest ambitions.