The top 50: Takashi ‘Tak’ Sato and Jon Soberg, co-managing partners, MS&AD Ventures

Jon Soberg and Tak Sato are managing partners of MS&AD Ventures, the overseas corporate venturing subsidiary of Japan-based insurance firm MS&AD Holdings. Additionally, Soberg is chief executive while Sato is president of the unit.

MS&AD Ventures focuses on early-stage artificial intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, insurance, internet-of-things technology developers. The unit has backed 74 companies to date and achieved exits – through either IPO or acquisition – on seven of them.

Its most recent investments include a role in the $50m series C raise for US-based Socotra, developer of a cloud-based platform for technology-driven insurance firms, and participation in $10m series A round for Intellect, a Singaporean provider of mental health support services.

Sato joined insurance firm Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group (MSIG) – then known as Sumitomo Marine Fire Insurance – in 1996. In May 2017, he was appointed as MS&AD Insurance Group’s first Silicon Valley representative: MS&AD Ventures was formed in 2018 as the group’s first overseas CVC unit.

Soberg was brought on board by MS&AD Ventures in October 2018, having been a venture capitalist for a decade with a track record of returns including multiple unicorn investments and strong exits. He is known for being one of the early investors from Silicon Valley to invest globally and for his focus on financial technologies and applying data and analytics to change industries.

Soberg graduated as a Palmer Scholar with an MBA in entrepreneurial management and marketing from Wharton, has a master of science in mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics from Northwestern University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Sato studied at Keio University before earning an MBA from Chuo University Graduate School and undertook a course on design thinking at Stanford Continuing Studies.