Where are they now: at Emergence Capital

Co-founder Brian Jacobs is not part of the firm’s latest fund, but he continues to build his separate seed-stage practice while also learning the vagaries of teaching on Zoom amid a pandemic.

Emergence Capital typically takes a measured approach to growth and prefers to promote within.

So when the San Mateo, California-based firm, which raised $435 million for its fifth early-stage fund in 2018, promoted two of its staff late last year, we were not surprised.

To begin with, the enterprise cloud and software-as-a-service investor promoted Carlotta “Lotti” Siniscalco to principal. She joined the firm more than two years ago and leads investment analysis and the firm’s deal pipeline, focusing on fintech and insurance start-ups. She also heads up Emergence’s female founder’s initiative and is the chief editor and a mentor for Mentors4U, an independent mentoring program in Europe.

Siniscalco is not the first woman on Emergence’s investment team. Kara Egan was a principal at the firm until she left in February 2020 to join a stealth healthtech start-up. Separately, Vivian Faga was an operating partner at Emergence for three years until October. Her LinkedIn lists her now as an operator and an advisor at several organizations.

In addition to Siniscalco, Emergence also promoted Jake Saper to become the sixth active general partner on staff, joining Jason Green, Gordon Ritter, Kevin Spain, Santi Subotovsky and Joe Floyd. Saper has been with the firm since 2014.

Moai momentum

Saper essentially steps in to fill the slot of general partner Brian Jacobs. Jacobs, who co-founded the firm in 2003 with Green and Ritter, remains active on the firm’s older funds, but is not on the roster of Fund V.

In 2019, he launched the seed-stage Moai Capital with his own money (Moai is pronounced as “Moe-eye” and comes from the stone carvings on Easter Island).

We checked in with Jacobs recently, who says 2020 was an active year, as he backed four start-ups via Moai, exceeding the number for 2019. You can see the entire portfolio at moai.vc. The new ones are BabyQuip, Freeword, Mara BioSystems and one more in stealth mode.

Jacobs also tells us he taught the autumn quarter VC course at the Stanford Business School for the second year. And what was it like to teach via Zoom (which, by the way, is a portfolio company of Emergence Capital)?

“Like teachers everywhere, I was terrified when I had to learn about teaching on Zoom,” Jacobs says. “But I adapted quickly and now I think the course was even better.”