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Dolphin Tales

Helping Invest in the Future

Tony, Class of 2012, is helping invest in the future while living on the road and contemplating the "work-life balance". 




Where are you living now?
I currently split my time across Silicon Valley, Seoul, and Hong Kong. No home address and two suitcases. (I had to go full "Kon-mari" for this)

What kind of work are you doing?
I am a VC (venture capitalist), identifying and investing in promising, early-stage technology startups founded by entrepreneurs with great ambitions to build globally significant enterprises. My firm Northern Light Venture Capital is a $6 billion VC firm, investing primarily in China-tech. I am also currently co-founding a VC firm, focusing on early-stage investing in Korea and the US. Prior to investing, I was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group across US, Middle East, Korea, and Japan.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
By far, it is the process of building relationships with the founders I meet and help in their journey. I'm a believer in that smart people should build things. It's always inspirational to see some of the most talented and visionary people I know to be dedicating their time to building products and companies that transform the way we live, work, and play. I also enjoy talking to students about technology and entrepreneurship. My hope is that more people are exposed to the potential and excitement of tech-enabled entrepreneurship from an earlier age as a means of leaving their mark on the world.

What kind of challenges does it hold for you?
Too many to list - but at a very meta-level, I've found "work-life balance" to be an impossible challenge. In venture, the boundaries between work and life are very much blurred. (Is a dinner with a cool founder over the weekend "work"?)  

Also I find the concept itself to be an inherently flawed framework. I've found people who have set their priorities to be "not work" and it works great. But if you decide that work is going to be a core part of your self-realization, then the trick is not to find a way to contain the number of hours you spend at work but to find work that drives you to spend an inordinate amount of time at it.

Did NIS help you prepare for your current position in any way?
Certainly. The IB curriculum provided a solid academic underpinning, but the greatest and the most formative experiences from NIS came from the independent projects that I drove during my high school years. NIS allows students to leverage the size and the flexibility of the school to their advantage and learn how to "build". Some flagship projects that I remember very fondly include, founding a Debate Club and hosting tournaments with other international schools, co-authoring the High School Student Council Constitution, engaging both the students and the faculty, experimenting with new election systems for the student council. All of these projects were highly encouraged and well supported by the school leadership - truly an invaluable experience.

What’s the one thing that you are really enjoying or are most excited about these days? 
The prospect of launching my own firm with great mentors and partners is going to be a wild and exciting ride. But most of all, as Japan relaxes their covid quarantine/entry rules, I hope to visit my family who are in Japan.

What’s the one thing you miss most about Japan/Nagoya?
There is this hole-in-the-wall yakitori place near Shimizu Station (Seto-line). 8 minute walk from my old house. I really hope they're still open!


将来的に世界的企業としての成長が見込まれるITベンチャーを見極め、出資するベンチャーキャピタリストです。私が勤務するNorthen Light Venture Capital社は60億ドル規模のベンチャーキャピタルで、主な投資先は中国のITベンチャーです。また現在は、主に韓国と米国のベンチャー企業に出資するベンチャーキャピタルの共同設立に取り組んでいます。それ以前には、Boston Consulting Group社にて米国、中東、韓国、日本の企業の経営コンサルタントをしていました。

起業家達と関係を築きながら彼らの歩みをサポートする過程に勝るものはありません。「Smart people should build things(優秀な人ほど起業するべきだ)」といいますが、その通りだと思います。才能とビジョンにあふれた人々が、私たちの生活、仕事、余暇のあり方を変えるような製品や企業を作り上げるために邁進する様子に刺激を受けています。テクノロジーや起業精神について生徒達に話すのも好きです。より多くの人がテクノロジーがもたらす起業の可能性や醍醐味に、早いうちから親しんで欲しいと思っています。世界に足跡を残すことになるのですから。