How to Turn a Cancer Tragedy into Something Good - Slava Rubin

In Chapter 1 of 13 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, crowdfunding entrepreneur and IndieGoGo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What is Your Entrepreneur Story?"  Rubin recounts how after his father died of myeloma cancer, he tries to raise money to fight cancer.  The process proves painful and frustrating and, over time, Rubin meets what would be his two IndieGoGo co-founders, Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell.   Slava Rubin returns to CYF for his Year 3 interview.  As CEO and Co-Founder, Rubin has helped transform cause and project fundraising by establishing his company IndieGoGo as a global leader in crowdfunding.  He is also active in philanthropy, starting the Music Against Myeloma annual charity event to fight cancer.  He graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Erik Michielsen: What’s your entrepreneur story?

Slava Rubin: Yeah, so when I was 15, my dad died of cancer and then for 10 years I really couldn’t deal with it and then as a New Year’s resolution I decided to finally do something about it and I started my own charity called Music Against Myeloma. This was in the middle of the last decade when the internet really sucked for raising money. So, I tried using Myspace. I remember Facebook was smaller than Myspace and Twitter was nascent, YouTube was not owned by Google and Obama wasn’t a word. So, it was pretty challenging to raise money using the internet.

I had this discussion with two other peers Eric Shell and Danae Ringelman and the three of us all shared our mutual frustration of hard it was to use the internet to raise money. So, in January 2008, we decided to launch a platform that would democratize fundraising called Indiegogo and, you know, we persevered through the market crash of 2008 and 2009 and beyond reason continued to work at Indiegogo and really the last couple of years have been consistent growth and we’re excited now to be funding millions of dollars globally every month. So, that’s how I got here which is turning cancer into something good.