Music stars Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo have both given the Sing! Karaoke app a try. Now so is Sharon Segev.
She’s the first-ever chief legal officer for San Francisco-based music app maker Smule Inc., best known for its karaoke app. Although Segev said she’s not much of a singer (her words, not ours), she loves to sing along.
She joined the company in late September as its only in-house lawyer and quickly found her workplace is a little different than most. Smule’s CEO and co-founder, Jeffrey Smith, is a pianist who sometimes gives lessons to staff, and it’s typical for Segev’s co-workers to be singing and playing instruments in the office at any given time.
“I’ve always loved music, and I like to dance and sing backstage but not in front and center,” Segev said. “But music can be so great and put you in a good mood.”
Prior to Smule, Segev most recently worked as general counsel for a company in a very different business—identity theft protection company LifeLock Inc. There she led a legal department that varied from 15 to 20 people during her tenure from January 2016 to June of this year. Among her biggest tasks was overseeing the company’s sale for $2.3 billion to Symantec Corp., which closed in February.
While some of her colleagues moved on to join Symantec’s legal department, she said that she wasn’t in that group.
“What happens in many transactions like this is the larger organization already has a GC. Symantec has a GC and so they didn’t really need me,” Segev said. “It’s a hard thing having to say goodbye to people I worked with and I’m sad for the magic that’s gone. But I never questioned my own position in the deal and whether I have a job or not, because it was the right thing for the company.”
After parting ways with LifeLock, Segev recalls first hearing about Smule and immediately being interested.
When she received the phone call from a colleague who recommended her for the job, she was traveling abroad. Her cellphone service was so poor that she could barely make out the name of the company but how her friend described Smule—from what she could make out—sounded like a perfect opportunity.
“I haven’t had the traditional path. But one thing that’s similar [to LifeLock] is the team. I always want to be part of a team where I believe in the business and the mission,” she said. “As I looked into the company, I got very excited.”
When she met the executives at Smule, she was excited about the possibility of coming on board. The only hiccup was that Segev had promised her children she would spend the summer with them after she helped with LifeLock’s transition to new leadership under Symantec.
So she told the CEO at Smule she would be happy to join, as long as she could push her start date. He agreed, and Segev started in-house at Smule in September after making plenty of time to travel with her family.
For now, Segev is still a one-woman legal department at Smule, but she expects as the company scales, she will eventually add more staff just as she did in previous roles where she “made sure to cherry-pick [lawyers] who would really succeed in a particular environment.”