|Alma mater||Eckerd College, St Petersburg, Florida|
Mark Tluszcz is co-founder and CEO of Mangrove Capital Partners, a venture capital firm he set up in 2000. He also serves as Chairman of Wix.com (NASDAQ:WIX), the world’s leading website building platform. His achievements include turning a $2m investment in Skype into $200m and a $8m investment in Wix.com into $700m.
Tluszcz spent the first 10 years of his professional career at Arthur Andersen, ultimately becoming a partner in its business consulting practice before running its European venture capital fund. During this time he personally invested in a number of businesses including the Frederick Brewing Company which listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
In 2000 he founded Mangrove Capital Partners with Gerard Lopez and Hans-Jürgen Schmitz. He was the first investor in Skype, a telecoms business founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström - who were at the time known for founding Kazaa, the peer-to-peer file sharing application. On 14 October 2005 Skype was acquired by eBay and Tluszcz was named as one of the most respected technology dealmakers globally by Forbes magazine.
In 2006, Tluszcz backed cloud-based web development platform Wix.com. He persuaded Wix.com not to sell when it was offered $400m and the company went on to float on NASDAQ in 2013. Its market capitalisation reached $5bn in 2018. It remains the largest tech IPO to come out of Israel.
Tluszcz's firm looks at 2,000 startup deals a year but invests in just six. It has made approximately 100 investments into early-stage technology companies predominantly in Europe and Israel since it was founded in 2000. The company has raised four funds and has $750 million in "assets under management". In 2016 it had seven or eight startups in its portfolio enjoying rapid growth and worth over £100 million.
Tluszcz drew controversy in April 2015 when he stated that the majority of 'unicorn' companies (those claiming to be worth over $1bn) were in fact 'fakies'. Later in the year the technology industry experienced a significant correction with many highly prized companies seeing their values slashed. Having been valued at over $1bn in 2015, Shazam was acquired by Apple in 2017 in a deal thought to be worth $400m.
In April 2016 and amid growing excitement in the fintech sector, Tluszcz attracted controversy again by writing about a 'fintech mirage' in an article published by the Financial Times which advised investors to ignore the hype about fintech, called for greater regulation and raised concerns about the peer-to-peer lending sector. Weeks later peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club revealed on its earnings call that the CEO had been removed for unethical behaviour. The company's stock crashed 50%, seeing its market capitalization fall by $1.5bn over the following two weeks. He also predicted that app-only banks may struggle to gain the trust of consumers and grow their customer base.
Tluszcz has also expressed doubts over the business models of Gig economy companies such as Uber and Deliveroo which have been accused of not paying adequate wages and taxes. He predicted these businesses will have to go through massive structural changes driven by individual countries’ laws.
- Spurgeon, Brad (July 26, 2013). "Billionaires Stake Their Elite Racing Claims". New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Jhonsa, Eric (February 24, 2016). "Wix splits chairman and CEO roles; VC named chairman". SeekingAlpha. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- Shead, Sam (April 16, 2016). "A VC who made $200 million when Skype was acquired explains why Israel has become the 'Startup Nation'". Business Insider. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- Butcher, Mike (July 19, 2017). "Mangrove raises $170M for its new fund to invest in Europe and Israeli startups". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
- "Technology's Top Dealmakers". Forbes. February 2, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Lan, Shlomit (May 30, 2016). ""I told Wix's founders not to sell at $400m"". Globes. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- "Website builder Wix raises $127M in largest-ever IPO for Israeli firm". VentureBeat. November 6, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "The first investor in Skype classifies all the startups he backs as dogs, newbies, rising stars or gems". Business Insider. April 13, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- "The Risk of 'Fake Unicorns' in the Tech Sector". BloombergTV. April 7, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- "Apple confirms plans to buy music recognition app Shazam". The Financial TimesV. December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- "Investors should ignore the hype about fintech". Financial Times. April 3, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- "LendingClub, the poster child of online lending, is in a life-threatening crisis — here's what you need to know". Business Insider. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
- "The fintech mirage is losing its shine". Finextra. May 13, 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- "Delivery wars: as another start-up raises money from investors is this the next tech bubble?". Daily Telegraph. May 28, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Lomas, Natasha (2018-03-12). "MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
- Mangrove Capital Partners website
- Mark Tluszcz talking frictionless technology on CNBC
- Mark Tluszcz discussing fake unicorns on Bloomberg Television
- Mark Tluszcz being interviewed by TechCrunch on fintech hype TechCrunch
- Mark Tluszcz writes about fintech hype in Financial Times
- Mark Tluszcz writes about the fintech mirage losing its shine on Finextra