Welcoming our Newest Partner, Sarah Smith

3 min read May 16, 2018

While Bain Capital has been venture investing for 30 years, we officially opened our first West Coast venture office in 2011. This expansion was long overdue. While we had successfully backed Bay Area entrepreneurs and companies such as LinkedIn, SurveyMonkey and Taleo, we knew we had to establish a presence and build a team on the ground in order to back the next set of amazing founders out west. Our early cohort of founders were the loudest voices, believing that our platform, domain knowledge and networks would be highly accretive to the Valley ecosystem.

Over the course of the past six plus years, we’ve grown our West Coast partnership with the addition of partners Salil Deshpande and Enrique Salem, while also growing our overall investing team, which today represents 50% of our investing staff across BCV.

Today, I am thrilled to announce the addition of our newest partner in the Bay Area, Sarah Smith. With the addition of Sarah, who joins us to lead early-stage investments across enterprise SaaS, marketplace and consumer businesses, we now have five investing partners and a team of many more in San Francisco.

We first met Sarah last fall when she was actively investing at Graph Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund, and also running ad sales and operations at Quora. At the time, we were looking to add to our senior ranks here in California and in particular were excited about bringing someone on who has been on the inside of two fast-growing companies, both of which are known for the quality of their engineering talent.

As part of the executive team at Quora, Sarah shaped the ads product and go-to-market strategy and helped scale the company from 40 to 200 employees. She also ran recruiting, HR and user operations at Quora, prior to rising to her most current position. Previously she worked at Facebook for four years, first managing online operations — a role that continued to expand and eventually led to becoming the head of the company’s Austin office overseeing nearly 200 employees. Most recently at Facebook, she led SMB growth across all of North America.

At Graph Ventures over the last three years, Sarah sourced dozens of seed and Series A deals ranging from application software aimed at changing the future of work (Twine and Strive) and addressing employee development (BetterUp) to consumer technologies designed to connect people (OhmniLabs, Winnie) and improve lives (Kurbo).

With Sarah, our team knew right away we had found our next partner. She’s someone who has a passion for building companies, for growing teams, and for coaching and mentoring founders. People we spoke to in the Valley universally raved about Sarah — she has a deep network and has a magical ability to connect with people. And most importantly, we felt Sarah embodied the qualities of our partnership — a deep passion for company building; a desire to back amazing founders; a curiosity about markets and how they will change or get disrupted; and an approach centered on transparency, integrity and humility.

As Sarah helps us strengthen our networks and early-stage investing capabilities in Silicon Valley, we look forward to funding more great Valley companies and adding to our West Coast portfolio, which today includes AcornsBasisBloomreachDocuSignGainSightLeapYearRedis LabsSendGridSignifydSysdig and many more!

Welcome to BCV, Sarah!

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