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Growing up in the Soviet Union taught this founder to be resourceful

February 14, 2020

Finding the opportunities within the limitations, he learned to create his own success.

3 min read

The opinions expressed by employees are personal.

Growing up in the Soviet Union taught this founder to be resourcefulGrowing up in the Soviet Union taught this founder to be resourceful

I grew up in the Soviet Union , at a time of political and economic turmoil. My parents didn't have much money, so my childhood was full of inheritance. I inherited my older brothers' old books, their clothes, their pants, even their socks, the kind of woven socks that help you stay warm in the cold winter. I had a few dolls that I adored, although we couldn't afford to buy them new dresses. So I used my brothers' clothes for something different: I cut them and made clothes for my dolls with them. It took me years to realize what I had really done. Not only was I wearing a doll, I was teaching myself to find the potential in things that others overlooked.

A decade ago, I left Russia determined to do more than get married, which was the cultural expectation of my old world. Instead, I wanted to continue unlocking potential. I studied economics and marketing at the university, I moved to New York to work on Wall Street , I left it to start my own marketing and advertising agency, and a few years later I sold the agency. That gave me enough money to become an investor, and I decided it was time to unlock the potential of others. In 2015, I launched an accelerator and venture capital firm called, specifically dedicated to helping foreign founders. Then I made it to raise awareness about the challenges facing foreign founders, as well as a fintech company, to help more entrepreneurs like me to grow their businesses profitably.

A few years ago, I traveled back to Russia to visit my family. My youngest daughter traveled with me, and found my dolls … even with those dresses that I made of old pants and socks. My daughter could not believe her eyes. So I explained why they were dressed like this, and I told him about how ingenious I had to be when I was a child. Those were the moments, however glamorous they may seem, that helped me develop my business muscles. Seeing and hearing my story, she also had a new perspective: she realized that she can create anything she wants.

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