By: Hope Gainer
Marc Bell, first and foremost, is a social being who believes in following his passions. “Do what you believe in and always follow your dreams,” Bell said. “My dream was to build data centers, and I did it.”
Bell is one of the rare few people in the world who can declare that they have achieved all their professional life goals yet he has some personal goals as well. “I would love to see every UNESCO site in the world. Of the 1000+ sites, I have seen more than 100.”
Bell’s success story started in high school at age 14. Knowing he wanted to work with computers, Bell took the only job available as a janitor cleaning bathrooms in a computer store. Fast forward through an undergraduate degree from Babson College and a graduate degree from NYU, and Bell becomes one of the world’s largest internet providers founding his first company, Globix Corporation, at age 21.
Bell’s empire has grown organically. He acquired General Media, which then acquired FriendFinder Networks Inc. This social networking site eventually became one of the world’s largest website holding companies with more than 600,000 active users and 48,000 websites.
Bell now focuses on Marc Bell Capital, an investment firm with an insanely diversified portfolio that includes venture capital, private equity, finance, hospitality, theatrical, technology, retail, real estate, oil and gas. This all-inclusive strategy has led Bell to invest in a range of businesses, currently leaving him with stakes in over 160 companies around the world. Additionally, Bell sits on the Boards of New York University, NYU Langone Medical Center and Boca Museum of Art among others.
One of Bell’s current pet projects is taking Dutch watch sensation KYBOE! Global, a brand he fell in love with in Europe. Bell’s love for theater and gastronomy has led to a vested interest in LAVO, Avenue and Catch—three of the top hospitality venues in New York City—as well as Broadway productions of Jersey Boys, Fiddler on the Roof, Honeymoon in Vegas, Rock of Ages and many more.
Another passion for Bell is art. He has collected an extensive array of Andy Warhol prints, currently on loan to the Boca Museum of Art. He also owns one of the largest M.C. Escher collections in the world, plus additional works by graffiti artists Alec Monopoly, Mr. Brainwash, Trust Icon, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and others.
In the future, Bell will be busy visiting the other 900 UNESCO sites while his nanosatellite company watches over the world from space.