Mark Siegel’s parents were entrepreneurs. “I admired them,” says Siegel, a venture capitalist. “I was attracted to the idea of doing something risky and independent.”
Siegel earned an MIT bachelor’s degree in physics in 1990 and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 1996. In 1990, he joined Oracle, where he worked for four years in product management and consulting. For the next two years, he worked in business development at the newly founded Netscape Communications. Then he joined Menlo Ventures, one of the oldest and largest venture capital firms in the country. The firm looks for technology startups that can be leaders in emerging markets. “In any entrepreneurial venture, the talent of the team is the most crucial ingredient for success,” he says.
Siegel adds that the world faces many challenges in the coming decades–including environmental and energy problems–and he’s convinced that technology will provide the solutions. “Basic science is important to the future of humanity,” he says. “MIT is the country’s leading institution for science and engineering. And to maintain that leadership, you have to be able to attract the world’s best talent–just like a company.”
He and his wife recently established the Mark and Annette Siegel Fund, an endowed fund to support graduate students in MIT’s physics department. “We wanted to provide an education to the best and brightest people in the world,” he says.
Siegel’s wife, Annette, a plastic surgeon, received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford. The couple enjoys skiing, hiking, and horseback riding.
“Both Annette and I received scholarships in college and graduate school and would not have been able to pursue our educations without them,” Siegel says. “It is rewarding tohelp someone else realize their dream.”