Edo Segal is a prolific investor, inventor, and serial entrepreneur who’s built his career on making unfeasible sounding projects a reality. His latest venture, TouchCast, is currently making its mark thanks to a platform that’s allowed businesses to navigate the complexities of the new normal by tapping into the online and virtual worlds. To find out more, read on for ten things you didn’t know about Edo Segal.
1. Chutzpah runs in the family
As bMuse comments, if Segal has a degree in anything, it’s chutzpah, a quality that very much runs in the Segal family. As a child, his father paid a personal call to the home of the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, to hand over a portrait he’d painted. Impressed with the young Seagal’s talent (not to mention impudence), Ben-Gurion arranged an art school scholarship for him. While he was at the school, Segal was told his fingers were too stubby for fine art, and was enrolled as a silversmith instead. Undeterred, Segal carried on drawing in his own time. After graduating, he entered a nationwide contest to design Hebrew University’s new logo. In a fitting middle fingered salute to the busybodies at his old school, he won.
2. He spent three years in the US as a kid
When Segal was 10 years old, his father relocated the family to the US in an effort to break into New York’s burgeoning art scene. For Segal, it was a major upheaval. At the time, he didn’t speak English, something that made the prospect of making new friends almost impossible. Seeking solace, he found comfort in his school’s computer room. Over time, he developed an interest in code. Soon, he was supplementing his pocket money as a freelancer for antivirus-software companies. Ultimately, his father’s bid to tap into the art world failed, and after three years in the US, the family returned to Jerusalem.
3. He’s a keen runner
CEO’s of tech companies have developed a reputation for being fitness freaks. While most of us are still catching 20 winks, most Silicon Valley heads have already showered, shaved, and run 10 miles. In that, Segal is no exception. A keen amateur athlete, he developed his passion for running as a kid in Queens. After finding that his limited English and foreign background didn’t exactly make the process of making friends easy, he took to running as a form of escape. It gave him the feeling of being able to outrun the bullies, not to mention an understanding of the rewards of endurance and self-reliance that have proved invaluable to his career as an entrepreneur.
4. He served in the army
After high school, Segal, like all Israeli citizens, was subject to the military draft. To fulfill his obligations, he entered the Golani Brigade, one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the Israeli Defense Forces. Despite confessing to having no military ambition or zeal for the army, he proved a success and was ultimately promoted to the position of captain.
5. It took him a while to find his place
If you’re the parent of a kid who seems to be lacking any direction, don’t despair. If Segal’s example is anything to go by, they’ll eventually find their place. Despite being a world-famous name with a very clear sense of purpose these days, it took Segal a long time to decide on the kind of future he wanted. After leaving the army, he tried writing science fiction. When his enthusiasm for writing waned, he enrolled at art college (the same one, in fact, that his father attended). After deciding a future in art wasn’t for him, he dropped out after just 2 years. Shortly after, he started a CD-Rom company making CD-Roms on everything from martial arts to Christmas. After several more interesting but ultimately unsuccessful business endeavors, he eventually settled on a future in tech.
6. He worked with AOL for 20 years
After finally deciding where his future lay, Segal spent 20 years working with AOL as VP of Emerging Platforms. Since leaving the company, he’s developed a reputation as a serial entrepreneur and prolific investor. Of the companies he’s founded, bMuse and TouchCast rank as two of the most well-known.
7. He’s a dreamer
If there’s one thing that Segal is more than anything else, it’s a dreamer. Over the years, he’s dreamt up ideas for some extraordinary creations, including a 3-D printer that works without heat or chemicals, a mobile device that uses a 360-degree panoramic camera, and revolutionary home sound and lighting systems. After he’s dreamt up his next creation, he turns to his team of staff around the world to iron out the details and turn what often seems an impossible fantasy into a reality.
8. He’s masterminding a revolution
Segal isn’t just making dreams a reality; he’s masterminding a revolution. During an interview with CRN back in 2018, the CEO claimed that TouchCast’s Pitch smart video platform (a platform similar to PowerPoint but with the additional benefit of live video options) is “version one of a revolution.” Pitch, Seagal said, is “a revolution in the way people communicate.” Judging by its subsequent success, he might well be right.
9. He’s been overrun with demand in the wake of COVID
If events have gone ahead at all within the past 12 months, they’ll have done so online. The global COVID pandemic has done many things, including putting networking and in-person attendance firmly off the menu. But with adversity, comes opportunity. Since the pandemic broke, a huge crop of start-ups has sprung up, all of them promising to make the new normal just a little better than it’d otherwise be. Segal’s New York-based start-up TouchCast is one of the many companies tapping into the requirements of a virtual and online world. TouchCast’s claim to fame is a platform that Segal describes as combining computer vision and video streaming technology with natural language. The result is a tool that lets organizations host events and experiences without any technical heavy lifting. Clearly, Segal couldn’t have picked a better time to take his product to the world; during interviews, he’s claimed to have been ‘overrun by demand’ in the wake of the pandemic.
10. He’s just raised $55 million
Segal is now sat at the helm of a multi-million dollar startup. As softengoxford.com reports, this month saw TouchCast pick up $55 million in funding. The funding round was led by Accenture Ventures with Alexander Capital Ventures, Saatchi Invest, and Ronald Lauder also participating. Although Segal hasn’t disclosed the exact valuation, it’s estimated that the latest funding puts TouchCast’s value at 9 figures.