Mark Zubov, CFA, Finance Expert in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Mark Zubov, CFA

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Toptal Member Since
January 31, 2017

Mark is an entrepreneur, investor, and executive focused on DeFi and fintech in emerging markets. He is the founder of a fintech lending/DeFi startup backed by Silicon Valley VCs. Mark comes from an investment background and has worked on $1.5 billion in buy-side and sell-side deals across M&A, equity, and debt capital markets in the US, MENA, and Asia. As a freelancer, Mark enjoys sharing his passion for entrepreneurship with startups across the world—helping them with fundraising and strategy.

Career Highlights

Education Highlights

Independent Finance Coursework
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Master's Degree
University of St. Francis
Bachelor's Degree
University of St. Francis

Certification Highlights

Case Studies

Work Experience

Founder and CFO

2021 - PRESENT
  • Launched and scaled a Sharia-compliant fintech lending and borrowing platform focused on emerging markets, primarily Central Asia, to a $10 million loan portfolio, 60,000+ monthly active users, and $2+ million in annual revenue.
  • Attracted $2+ million in venture funding from top-tier VCs, family offices, and angels, including 500 Global, Battery Road Digital Holdings, and others.
  • Led the development of a Sharia-compliant decentralized lending protocol with a native stablecoin backed by crypto assets and off-chain assets.
  • Led strategy and finance projects, including the development of financial projections, analysis of unit economics and overall profitability, etc., recommending changes to the board on a regular basis.
Focus areas: Fundraising, Seed Fundraising, Cryptocurrency, Angel/Seed Funding, Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Senior Investment Associate

2019 - 2022
  • Delivered a full suite of sell-side and buy-side advisory services to capital-seeking firms, private equity and debt fund managers, VC investors, development finance institutions, and related stakeholders in Central Asia, MENA, and Eastern Europe.
  • Launched and led the firm's Central Asia investment advisory practice, opening an office, hiring and managing a team, building a pipeline of investment opportunities nationwide, and advising on over $100m of transactions.
  • Spearheaded a USAID-funded program to attract international investments into Kyrgyzstan's private sector. Engaged on over 20 deals, with over 15 deals reaching financial close, mobilizing more than US$34m into Kyrgyz SMEs.
  • Supported the firm's business development efforts across broader Eastern European, Central Asian, and MENA regions, including building new relationships with potential clients and international investors.
  • Held a specific focus on fund advisory, leading CrossBoundary's fund advisory efforts globally. Supported the set up and development of over five new private equity and debt funds offering alternative financial instruments.
Focus areas: Valuation, Management Consulting, Private Equity, Capital Raising, Fund Management, Emerging Markets, Frontier Markets, Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

Investment Manager

2018 - 2019
IFG Capital
  • Responsible for sourcing, developing and analyzing new investment opportunities in the metals & mining, retail, cleantech, financial services, technology and other sectors in the CIS region focusing on market assessment and competitive positioning to deal structuring and pitching to co-investors.
  • Built robust, flexible financial models to support deal valuation and deal structuring effort with intimate knowledge in the modeling of metals & mining opportunities.
  • Led the diligence efforts on pursued deals, including business diligence, and managing external advisors.
  • Prepared and presented investment memos and portfolio updates to general partners.
  • Conducted macro-quantitative and qualitative analysis of frontier markets to help identify investment themes that translated to the fund’s investment strategy.
Focus areas: Venture Funding, Emerging Markets, Metals & Mining, Commodities, Fund Management, Investment Thesis, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Valuation, Private Equity

Investment Banking Associate

2017 - 2018
WestPark Capital
  • Involved in all aspects of transactions, including initial due diligence, financial modeling, the production of offering memorandums, and preparation of marketing materials for current transactions and potential clients.
  • Built a robust LBO model for a $120 million alcohol distribution company, projecting financials under multiple capital structures. Participated in the negation sessions that led to the acceptance of a non-binding offer.
  • Prepared a private placement memorandum as well as a valuation model utilizing four different valuation techniques (discounted cash flow, comparable companies, comparable transactions, and sum-of-the-parts analyses) for a medical device/consumer product company's $15 million equity raise.
  • Worked directly with senior bankers to develop and model business plans in order to assist clients with capital allocation and strategic decision making processes.
  • Prepared investment memorandums for several private placements across the consumer devices, retail, food and beverage, and life sciences sectors.
  • Led and executed investment due-diligence processes for clients in the US and China by evaluating legal, technical, operational, and financial aspects of the companies and industries.
  • Drafted and structured a term sheet for the convertible debt financing of an internet-of-things (IoT) startup.
  • Evaluated more than 30 early-stage financing engagement opportunities across various tech verticals, including VR/AR, health IT, internet of things (IoT), bit data, robotics, and SaaS.
Focus areas: Life Science, Medical Devices, Technology, Biotech, Retail & Wholesale, Fintech, Market Entry, Consulting, Strategy, Leveraged Buyout (LBO), Teasers, Pitch Decks, Early-stage Funding, Comparable Company Analysis, Debt Raises, Equity Financing, Due Diligence, Market Research, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Valuation, Financial Modeling, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Investment Banking Analyst

2014 - 2016
WestPark Capital
  • Served as a lead analyst on 15 completed or potential transactions worth $1.5 billion in total, including debt and equity placements, sell-side and buy-side M&A transactions, leveraged buyouts, and project finance deals.
  • Performed a qualitative analysis of the oil & gas industry, thoroughly analyzed the client company's reserves and production forecasts, and ran a sensitivity analysis to show the impact of various macroeconomic conditions on the assets' valuations.
  • Analyzed the biofuels market and drafted views on the federal and state government regulations. Proposed policy changes: outlining the effect they have on the marketplace and M&A activity.
  • Managed due diligence requests, scheduled weekly update and Q&A calls, and created supporting materials with respect to assumptions and overall valuation.
  • Conducted research on specific companies and different sectors of the tech industry in order to compose marketing materials and company presentations for clients across a variety of verticals, including fintech, SaaS, and mobile.
Focus areas: Private Placement Memoranda, Capital Raising, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), Leveraged Buyout Modeling, Investor Presentations, Business Planning, Comparable Company Analysis, Private Company Valuation, Financial Modeling, Market Research, Debt Raises, Equity Financing, Due Diligence, Valuation, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)

Research Analyst

2012 - 2015
Providence Advisors
  • Worked on a strategic planning project for a $1.5 billion military logistics company based in Saudi Arabia. Identified potential growth opportunities for the company, focusing on value creation both through organic growth and mergers & acquisitions.
  • Developed competitor profiles and thoroughly evaluated competitors’ growth patterns to help the client prioritize various strategic expansion opportunities.
  • Helped analyze trends impacting military contractor's customers; also researched potential geographic markets of interest to the client, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Worked on a strategy development project for a Chicago-based investment management firm. Explored small institutional investor segments and their asset allocation strategies to determine which customer segments the company should target to offer its fixed income expertise.
  • Conducted research on the asset allocation trends, focusing on shifts to alternative investments by major pension funds and endowments, to address a challenging low yield market environment.
  • Performed market research and helped develop a financial model for a P2P lending startup based out of Chicago Booth. Researched customer acquisition strategies and sales conversion rates, utilizing primary and secondary sources in order to develop assumptions for the customer acquisition funnel.
Focus areas: Profitability Analysis, Growth Strategy, Startup Consulting, Data Analysis, Price Analysis, Business Planning, Competitor Analysis & Profiling, Strategy, Financial Modeling, Market Research, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Strategic Planning
2016 - 2018

CFA Level III Certification in Investment Analysis

CFA Institute - Los Angeles, CA, USA

2017 - 2017

Finance Certificate in Mergers and Acquisitions/Business Valuation

UCLA Extension - Los Angeles, CA, USA

2015 - 2015

Certificate in Advanced Financial Modeling

Breaking into Wall Street - Online

2015 - 2015

Independent Finance Coursework in M&A Strategy

University of Chicago Booth School of Business - Chicago, IL, USA

2014 - 2015

Master's Degree in Finance

University of St. Francis - Joliet, IL, USA

2010 - 2014

Bachelor's Degree in Finance

University of St. Francis - Joliet, IL, USA


Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CFA Institute