Mark Goldberg is a partner at Index Ventures where he 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 Berkley with his wife and young son. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, playing tennis, and exploring the Bay Area.
— What is your / your fund’s mission?
Index invests in people. From seed to venture to explosive growth, we work with entrepreneurs and their companies at every stage, across every sector. We are personal, long-term, global, and our conviction runs deep. We are the partners for pioneers; we share their vision and help them realize their ambition for their company. Together, we are transforming the way we live and work today.
— What is one thing you are excited about right now?
There’s a big trend happening right now where software companies are becoming fintech businesses to provide their customers with more choices. We see many examples of this in our portfolio companies, like ServiceTitan which started selling software to field service technicians, but now has a large payments business attached to it. This trend will create huge opportunities for founders.
— Who is one founder you think we should watch?
Amanda Peyton from Compound. She is smart, charismatic, and precise — many people will be talking about her in the coming years.
— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?
— What was your very first investment/when? And what struck you about them?
Nova Credit was my first investment. The company created an international credit score that allows immigrants to access financial products in the U.S. From the first moment I met them, I was struck by the incredible product/founder fit. The company’s founders Misha Esipov and Nicky Goulimis are immigrants who experienced the pain point they were solving first hand. Having a personal connection is very important to me.
— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?
Is this business playing in an enormous market?
— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?
Why did I start my company? Think about why you cast aside an easier career path to go all-in on your startup. That passion and conviction will come through to prospective investors.
— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?
Focus, team, and strategy — in that order.
— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?
Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman.
— What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Surfing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, or spending time with my family in Berkeley.
— Who is one leader you admire?
— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?
I have an identical twin brother, outside of the tech world, who people are regularly confusing me for.
— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?
Start building a small stable of trusted advisors around you early on. Being a CEO can be a lonely endeavor, and you can counteract this by surrounding yourself with great people who know and care about you.
Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium https://medium.com/startup-grind/vc-corner-q-a-mark-goldberg-4fc8649ac0c4