“After three startups, I know how hard it is to build a company from zero. You have to build a team, create a company culture, evangelize the first customers, create a winning product, and make thousands of decisions to shepherd a company to massive scale.”
I’m an investment partner at defy. As a founder, serial entrepreneur and former leadership team member at Skype, LinkedIn and Stripe, I’ve experienced all facets of startup life—from founding companies and raising capital to scaling growth, partnerships and M&A. I’m excited to partner with and mentor the next generation of founders in category-leading technology businesses. I serve on the Boards of GajiGesa, Elevate Security, and Aircover. In addition to my work as an entrepreneur and executive, I’ve been an active angel investor and advisor to companies including Stripe, Workato, Tenor (acquired by Google), Cursor Data (Data Robot), MindMeld (Cisco), Instawork, Tonal Fitness, Accord, Prairie Health, Curated, Hamsa Pay, Catch and Ava Finance.
My startups pioneered three key technology trends: internet infrastructure, mobile computing and video communications. At Bang Networks, we developed the first global infrastructure for dynamic content delivery on the Internet. OQO had a radical vision that one day, we would all carry an internet-connected computer in our pocket. Qik was the first video-calling app on phones. I cut my teeth not only building companies, but creating new markets as well.
After Qik was acquired by Skype, I was tasked to lead their business development function, which became a platform to accelerate user acquisition and revenue growth. After Microsoft’s $8.5B acquisition of Skype, I stayed on as GM and learned how to execute at a massive scale.
Next, I joined LinkedIn as VP of Business Development. It was a privilege to report to Jeff Weiner as a member of the Product Executive team—truly a masterclass in operating excellence. Above all, it taught me the power of building a mission-oriented culture, putting members first. It was a privilege to drive growth to hundreds of millions of users, help us scale to over $7B in revenue, and manage hundreds of thousands of developers participating in our API program.
After Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2B, I joined Stripe’s executive leadership team as head of partnerships. At Stripe, I found another opportunity to learn from some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation. While diving deep into the world of payments, managing hypergrowth at Stripe also taught me of the power of building for developers, achieving leverage through partners and imbuing business with deep rigor and quality of thought.
I started my career in Japan, where I passed the Level 1 Japanese-language proficiency exam and was a columnist for a Japanese national newspaper while working at Sony Corporation. I’ve also earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, became the first author on 10 granted patents, and won the Dubilier Prize for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. But the best prize of all is being able to raise two wonderful daughters with my wife Belle.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the incredible team at defy to mentor and support the next generation of great company builders.