Tom Blomfield has met together with his justifiable share of “shitty” VC buyers over the previous decade, the place he’s cofounded two $1bn+ fintech corporations — Monzo and GoCardless.
However he says nothing ready him for assembly with executives of the $150bn SoftBank Imaginative and prescient Fund round 2018/2019, the place he says the lead companion took the assembly barefoot and would “decide his toes” throughout their discussions.
And toes have been only a small a part of the eccentric behaviour, Blomfield wrote over the weekend, which additionally included the chief smoking indoors and leaving him ready within the foyer for “an hour or extra” in what he mentioned was a bizarre energy play.
In a much bigger article concerning the VC business, Blomfield writes: “One notably egregious instance of unhealthy behaviour that I’ll identify is SoftBank (at the least the London group). Like most growth-stage founders, I’ve pitched them for funding a number of instances. They handed — no arduous emotions.”
“But it surely appeared like normal observe throughout my visits to the London workplace to make me wait within the foyer, typically for an hour or extra after the assembly was supposed to start out. I heard of 1 founder who’d flown in from one other nation and was made to attend for your entire day of their foyer. I don’t know if that is true or not.”
Blomfield provides that after he finally obtained into the conferences, SoftBank’s behaviour was worse.
“Throughout one assembly, [the lead partner] lit a cigarette and smoked it in his workplace, home windows closed. He lastly put it down in his lunch plate, and poured his espresso over the cigarette to extinguish it. “
“The lead companion took conferences barefoot, and would decide his toes incessantly. Throughout one assembly, he lit a cigarette and smoked it in his workplace, home windows closed. He lastly put it down in his lunch plate, and poured his espresso over the cigarette to extinguish it. I didn’t know if it was some bizarre energy play, or if he simply lacked any form of manners.”
Blomfield provides that he wished he had mentioned one thing on the time, however didn’t as a result of his firm wanted the cash: “Wanting again, I want I had the heart to ask him to cease, or to easily stand up and stroll out of his workplace. However my firm actually wanted the funding and I didn’t wish to blow my probability.”
SoftBank didn’t reply to a number of requests for touch upon this story. However the Imaginative and prescient Fund has over time received a fame for eccentricity, and executives have even turn out to be identified for his or her barefoot conferences — notably Rajeev Misra, the London-based head of the Imaginative and prescient Fund.
This, for instance, was how the Monetary Instances described a gathering with Misra: “Mr Misra as soon as greeted the FT there barefoot, wearing a light-weight blue linen go well with and crisp white shirt, together with his hair slicked again and wrists adorned with beads and bracelets. At common intervals, aides walked in bearing espresso whereas others got here looking for recommendation. All through the dialog, Mr Misra chewed paan whereas vaping from an digital cigarette.”
And this was the primary paragraph of a Wall Avenue Journal piece concerning the Imaginative and prescient Fund: “Flying over Europe in a non-public jet final yr, Rajeev Misra took his footwear off and propped his naked toes on the knee of a high govt of FIFA, soccer’s governing physique. The manager froze whereas Mr. Misra, head of SoftBank Group Corp.’s $100bn Imaginative and prescient Fund, chatted about methods to earn more money off the streaming rights for the organisation’s tournaments.”
Blomfield was within the early 2010s one of many cofounders of GoCardless, the recurring cost supplier, which was valued at $970m at its newest spherical. In 2015 he based Monzo and was CEO for practically six years earlier than he stepped down final yr. This yr he introduced he was leaving the challenger financial institution altogether and has since turned his hand to angel investing.
Michael Stothard is Sifted’s editor. He tweets from @MStothard