About The Founder

I am an angel investor and a serial entrepreneur, passionate about helping young entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, I came to the U.S. with my family as a 10-year-old kid in 1979. I have always had an interest in technology, so I studied computer science at Columbia University and co-authored work on virtual worlds at IBM Research in 1988. After taking a year to hitchhike through Southeast Asia, I went on to grad school at MIT, where in 1992 I authored the Simple Network Payment Protocol, which was one of the earliest ways to transfer money on the Internet. Shortly after, I joined the MIT blackjack team which is the subject of this book and spent several years with my teammates feeling smug about being able to beat casinos around the world out of a few million dollars before finally realizing that it’s not as much of a challenge as it might seem.

Since then I have played key roles in several startups, learning a great deal from the successful ones and even more from the ones that failed. If you are interested in learning more details about my entrepreneurial and angel activities, please visit semyon.com.

I’m currently the Managing Director of Techstars in Boston, as well as the chairman of SMTP which is publicly traded on the Nasdaq.

I love to spend time with my wife, Natasha, and my six kids (Dagny, Miranda, Zoe, Uliana, Elio, and Milan). I windsurf whenever possible and ride my bike through red lights, but I sold my helicopter to quit while I’m ahead.