As Emergence Capital grows, it hires its first COO

Julie Bell comes over to the VC after recently serving at Bain & Company and at a pair of private equity firms before that.

Emergence Capital has tapped longtime Bain & Company executive Julie Bell as its first chief operating officer in the venture firm’s 18-year history.

Bell, who most recently was an executive vice-president at Bain & Company, will support the firm’s portfolio companies, which includes helping to recruit talent. She will oversee operations and manage the fund’s strategy. She said her job is to free up the partners so they can focus on investing.

The hire comes as Emergence – an investor in Zoom, Veeva Systems, Box and SuccessFactors, among others – less than a month ago closed on $575 million in commitments for its sixth flagship fund to invest in early-stage enterprise companies, and the firm raised $375 million for an opportunity vehicle. It’s the firm’s first-ever opportunity fund, which will primarily back the high-growth companies in its portfolio.

Emergence Capital typically promotes within. So, the outside hire of Bell into a senior position as well as the creation of a COO role at the firm marks a distinctive point in its history.

“It was hard to leave Bain, but this is an exciting era for entrepreneurs, venture capital and Emergence, and I wanted to be a part of this journey,” she said.

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Julie Bell, Emergence Capital

Bell joined the firm four weeks ago, she told Venture Capital Journal, after a long courtship in which she and the partners got to know each other over Zoom and outdoor meetups and walks.

Bell launched her career at Bain & Company 24 years ago, where she worked as a strategic consultant. She later held investment roles at San Francisco Equity Partners and JH Partners.

She previously held operating roles, including as chief executive of Luxury Link, an online luxury travel and marketing company, and chief financial officer at children’s apparel company Tea Collection.

Bell, who lives in Piedmont with her family, including a new Havanese puppy Javier, is a graduate of Harvard Business School and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

In her Emergence bio, Bell is also a supporter of women’s causes and DE&I initiatives, and is a frequent speaker at UC Berkeley.