Seth Mitchell Siegel (born December 14, 1953) is an American businessman, activist and writer.[2] He co-founded numerous companies, including Beanstalk,[3] Sixpoint Partners[4] and Vringo.[5] Siegel has produced on Broadway and television, and has served as the branding agent for many celebrities and large corporations.[6][7][8][9]

Siegel is the author of Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water-Starved World, published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press in 2015.[10][2] Siegel is a Senior Advisor to Start-Up Nation Central.[2] He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[2]

Early life and education

Siegel was born in New York City and attended public schools in Queens, New York. In 1974, he received a B.S. degree from Cornell University.[2] In 1978, he received a J.D. degree from the Cornell Law School. He also studied international relations as a graduate student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1974-1975. Siegel was a recipient of a Wexner Heritage Fellowship from the Wexner Foundation from 1990 to 1993.[2]


Trademark licensing

In 1990, Siegel co-founded The Beanstalk Group, a trademark licensing and brand extension agency. The company grew to be the world's leading licensing management agency and consultancy and was sold to Ford Motor Company in May 2001.[2][2] In November 2005, Ford Motor Company sold Beanstalk to Omnicom and Siegel stepped down as co-CEO, a position he had held since the firm's founding.[2]

Beanstalk advised many major companies such as Coca Cola, Harley-Davidson and Hormel.[18] Sieglel served as an advisor to and licensing agent for cartoon producer Hanna-Barbera Productions[2] for its many characters, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo.[18][20] Siegel also represented and advised celebrities including Paris Hilton and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Broadway and TV

Siegel was a Producer of the Tony Award-nominated 2002 Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha,[6] which received three Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical. Siegel was also an Associate Producer[7] of the Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV mini-series Dinotopia.[8]

Other business ventures

In 2007, Siegel co-founded Sixpoint Partners, a boutique financial services firm.[21] In the same year, he co-founded Vringo, now a public company known as Form Holdings (NASDAQ: FH), engaged in the innovation, development and monetization of mobile technologies and intellectual property.[22] Siegel served as Chairman of the Board of Vringo until May 8, 2013.[23] Siegel was a co-founder of the Harley-Davidson Café restaurants, along with the restaurateur Marc Packer and other partners.[24][25]

Media appearances, writing and lecturing

Siegel has lectured throughout the United States and has written articles, opinion pieces and criticism for many publications like The New York Times,[26][27] The Wall Street Journal[28][4][4] and the Los Angeles Times. and The Daily Beast.[4] He has also written for international publications, including The Independent,[4] Ireland's largest daily newspaper, and Ynet,[4] the online outlet for Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper.

Siegel is the host of the Let There Be Water Podcast, a podcast about pressing water issues. He is a regular blogger on The Huffington Post.[4]

Let There Be Water

Siegel's best-known writing is his book, Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water-Starved World, published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, on September 15, 2015.[4] Let There Be Water argues that the world is facing a global water crisis and should look to Israel as a model for mitigating water scarcity. Michael Bloomberg, Tony Blair and Robert F. Kennedy provided blurbs for Let There Be Water.

Let There Be Water is a New York Times Bestseller, a Los Angeles Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller and a Washington Post Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller. Let There Be Water was on The Daily Beast's "Best Big Idea Books of 2015"[4] list and recommended by Haaretz as one of "six books that anyone from politicians to plebs can add to their reading list".[4]

Siegel has spoken about Let There Be Water and water issues across the United States and internationally, including at the United Nations,[5] the Milken Institute Global Conference,[5] Google[5] and many college campuses.

Other People's Words

Siegel is a lifelong collector of quotations.[5] In 2005, Siegel published his collection of quotations, along with an introductory essay on the appeal of collecting quotations, called Other People's Words.[5][5]

Community service

Siegel was the creator and primary funder of the ‘Building Community Through Literature’ reading project at P.S. 165 in Queens, New York, that ran for nine years.[5] In connection with Siegel's elementary school literacy efforts, he appeared on The Today Show, where he was interviewed by Matt Lauer.[5]

Siegel served as Board Chair of the Cornell University Hillel, during which time he developed the Tanner Prize, named by Siegel in honor of Harold Tanner.[5] He remains on the Board of the organization.[5] Siegel's service to Cornell University also includes two terms on the Cornell University Council and many years on the Advisory Board of Cornell's ILR School.[45][46][47]

Siegel has been on the Heschel School Board continuously since 1989 and was made an honorary trustee in 2010.[48] Siegel also sits on the Board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),[49] a pro-Israel organization, and of NLI-USA, the organization charged with rebuilding the National Library of Israel.

In 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, Siegel arranged for magician David Blaine to visit Israel to entertain there. The two toured shelters, hospitals and army bases.[50]

In November 2011, Siegel, in his role as chairman of a delegation of Jewish communal leaders, was given an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and the opportunity to discuss Israel's security.[51]

Awards and honors

In 2010, Siegel was the recipient of the Jerome Alpern Award presented annually by the ILR School at Cornell University to an outstanding alumnus.[52] On June 18, 2013, Siegel received the Tanner Prize, an honor awarded annually by the Cornell University Hillel. On August 10, 2013, he received the Arthur and Simi Teich Award for Distinguished Alumni Achievement from Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi).[53]

Siegel's 2002 production of the Broadway revival of Man of La Mancha received a Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations. In addition, he received the Licensing Industry Merchandiser's Association LIMA Award for Excellence nine times in connection with his work at Beanstalk.[54] Siegel also received two advertising industry Clio Awards for his work with corporate clients.

Siegel's book, Let There Be Water, was awarded a bronze medal in the 2016 Axiom Business Book Awards in the Philanthropy/Nonprofit/Sustainability category.[55]

Personal life

Siegel is married to Rachel Ringler. They have three children and live in Manhattan.