Joining forces with Mark and the Index team helped accelerate Plaid's international footprint at a crucial time. He's more than an advisor; he's a champion of our mission.Zach Perret,
CEO and Co-founder of Plaid
Mark focuses on investments in financial services, insurance, real estate, and enterprise software. With both an operating and VC background, he specializes in working with entrepreneurs to scale their businesses. Mark joined Index from Dropbox, where he led a variety of leadership positions across the business and finance organizations, helping the company grow tenfold during his tenure there.
Before that, Mark was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he worked on the IPO for Tesla Motors. He also spent time with Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a cleantech-focused VC Fund, where he focused on investments in solar energy. Mark is a graduate of Brown University with a B.A. in International Relations. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and young son. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, playing tennis, and exploring the Bay Area.
The New Fundraising Landscape
Dropbox grew tenfold during your tenure as a BizOps leader there. What did you learn from that experience?
MARK – I learned how important it is to be deliberate about hiring. When I joined Dropbox, I remember thinking how ridiculous it was to spend 50% of my time recruiting people, but ultimately it was one of the smartest things we did. When you’re growing at that pace, every new person creates a pyramid of people behind them, and the right people attract those who complement them. Beyond hiring, I learned the importance of building a delightful product. Dropbox was comparably expensive in a crowded market, but people still wanted to use it because it was designed to be intuitive and easy.
Why is the fintech revolution here to stay?
MARK – The industry’s at the beginning of a massive transformation. Banks’ monopoly on our money is over; tech companies are going to emerge as providers of financial services. Banks have made themselves vulnerable by taking their customers for granted and under-investing in products. They slept at the switch, and it created enormous opportunities for new entrants. We’re seeing hundreds of billions of dollars transitioning from banks to tech companies, and I’m really excited to be investing around that.
How did you end up living in China?
MARK – My wife got a yearlong job teaching first amendment law at a Chinese university, so I took a few months off and went along. We lived in a city of 10 million people called Hangzhou and neither of us speaks Mandarin, but it was probably the best international experience we’ve had. The transitioning culture and economy informed some of the tech trends I look for as an investor. In many ways, China’s financial services have evolved much further than the West’s. China leapfrogged to mobile-first payments so thoroughly that money is almost entirely digital. Even some panhandlers won’t take cash.