Prior to joining Softbank Investment Advisers, Nahoko was a managing director at Afiniti, where she helped launch the company’s Japan presence. Nahoko started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, and also worked as an equity research analyst at Fidelity Investments. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
How would you describe your early career?
I had my fair share of finance training, including pulling all-nighters preparing pitch books and running multiple financial models simultaneously. I can still remember when our team worked with Masa as our client. His presence completely filled the large conference room. After a decade in finance, I realized that I was missing the experience of actually running a business. I joined Afiniti, a tech start-up that uses AI and data analysis to optimize large-scale call centers, and I ran their Japan operation. Suddenly I was building a team, pitching new business, and managing product development. After that, I knew that I wanted to build my career at the intersection of finance and tech.
What do you focus on at the Vision Fund?
While my portfolio covers a lot of ground, fintech and deep tech are at the core of my work. I currently sit on the board of a company called C2FO, which provides a platform that enables working capital transactions. A lot of my time is dedicated to researching areas such as micromobility, SaaS, and agritech. I also take part in the social impact initiatives at SBIA.
What's the most exciting thing about your current role?
Honestly, the biggest perk of this job is meeting with and being surrounded by amazing people. I love meeting entrepreneurs and learning about their journeys—how they got to where they are now and their vision for what's next. It's really inspiring. I’m lucky to work with such a talented team. My colleagues come from every background and region, and they’re experts in their fields. Finally, the ecosystem that we're building here is unlike anything that I've encountered before. It allows us to connect founders with other best-in-class businesses from every sector and subsector. I’m humbled by how vast the world is every day.
What principles guide you in your work?
When you're working around the clock, it can be hard to take the time required for real collaboration, but I think it's essential, particularly for making good investment decisions. I'm willing to take a step back, take a deep breath, and really focus on what's important. I'm Japanese, and I'm also often the only woman in the room. I think those things give me an important perspective. My style is to listen very carefully and then advocate for the connections and opportunities that I notice. I am not scared to slow things down at times in order to collaborate and ultimately benefit our longer-term goal as a firm.
What about your personal life? What do you do when you're not working with founders?
My hands are pretty full these days with a newborn son, and it has been the most humbling experience. But when I have any actual free time, I travel, read, hike, and bake. I am a trained pastry chef, and I've always had the dream of opening up a pâtisserie of my own. I haven't given that up, but it's probably something I'll think about again in the next chapter of my life.