Alumni Profile: Itzhak Fisher

B.S. ’82
Computer Programming
Current Position
Founder and Partner, Pereg Ventures
Alumni Profile: Itzhak Fisher

Founder and general partner at Pereg Ventures, a private equity fund focusing on marketing intelligence, as well as advertising, online, and mobile-enabling solutions.  

Starting the Path to Success

Fisher chose to attend NYIT because of the university's reputation in the field of computer science. He graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Science in computer programming. He attributes his alma mater with helping him gain acceptance to New York University's graduate program. From there, he got his first job working at IBM. “There is no question that NYIT got my career going,” says Fisher, who joined the university’s Board of Trustees in 2015. “It gave me the tools, the connections, and my first job offer.”

Spirited Entrepreneur

The power of technology and its role in helping companies maximize growth has been one of the defining aspects of Fisher's global career. After IBM, he took a consulting job at Mobil Oil, where he oversaw the installation of PCs into the company's mainframes. In 1984, he moved to Israel, where he helped design one of the first email marketing systems for Aurec. From 1992 to 1994, Fisher served as treasurer of Israel's Likud party. His efforts pulled the party out of debt totaling more than $10 million.

There is no question that NYIT got my career going ... It gave me the tools, the connections, and my first job offer.

It was on a first-class flight to watch the 1994 World Cup in the United States when Fisher met Ronald Lauder, son of renowned cosmetics icon Estee Lauder. Eager to start his own telecommunications company, the NYIT graduate pitched the idea to Lauder, who agreed to become his partner. Together, they formed RSL Communications, which after three years, became a $1.4 billion company with 3,500 employees in 21 countries.

Fisher later formed his own private equity firm and has since made numerous investments in companies specializing in innovative technology. Following an acquisition in 2007, he joined Nielsen as executive chair of the company's online division and was appointed executive vice president for global business development three years later. In 2012, he founded Pereg Ventures, a venture capital firm with Nielsen as a strategic investor.

Throughout his career, Fisher’s clients have included Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, top Wall Street banks, leading advertising firms, and other global brands.

Social Momentum

One of Fisher's interests is studying the impact of social media technologies and harnessing the power of these ubiquitous global communications vehicles for his clients.

“Social media today is very interesting,” says Fisher. Online sales, he adds, still have a way to go to match retail figures, but the opportunities are tremendous. Online reviews and instantaneous consumer reactions all play their part in shaping product growth, as do Twitter feeds and Facebook postings.

One of his deals involved the acquisition of a social media company that aggregates tweets made during primetime TV shows. “Sixty percent of evening tweets are about television,” says Fisher. “This allows us to see what's the most popular discussion at the moment. And it allows networks and advertisers to read these comments in real time as they happen.“ The result is a heightened ability to understand viewers’ thoughts and reactions during specific moments in shows and commercials.

Sporting Chances

To say Fisher is a typical sports fan is like saying the Super Bowl is just another football game. A self-described “sports maniac,” he has a goal of attending every major sporting event in the world at least once. So far, that has included seven Super Bowls, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Indy 500, NBA All-Star games, the Ice Hockey World Championship, and the World Cup.