Slava Rubin on Ways Childhood Experiences Shape Your Values

In Chapter 1 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Childhood Experiences Have Been Most Fundamental to Shaping Who You Are Today?" Rubin moves from Belarus to the United States very young and learns work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit from his role model parents. After losing his father to cancer, Rubin grows up quickly at home and resulting new school experiences teach him the importance of respecting the differences in other people. Slava Rubin is CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, the world's largest crowdfunding platform. Indiegogo empowers anyone, anywhere, anytime to raise funds for any idea—creative, cause-related or entrepreneurial. Prior to Indiegogo, Rubin worked as a management consultant. He earned his BSE degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen: What childhood experiences have been most fundamental in shaping who you are today?

Slava Rubin: Yeah, I think what happened when I was a kid is really important in terms of how you grow up. I had great parents, my mom and dad. My mom was a doctor and my dad was an engineer. And they were always very into education, into hard work, and they were entrepreneurs themselves, not in job but the fact that they were willing to take a risk and leave Russia, or Belarus, where we grew up, and right away move when I was 9 months old in ’78 to America. It was cool because I right away got to learn from my parents what it means to work for what you need to accomplish, to not have it handed to you, to really strive to do something better, and I right away had that work ethic and that entrepreneurial spirit, inspired into me.

Then when I was 15, my dad passed away from multiple myeloma, which we’ve talked about before, which had a huge impact, because right away I had to grow up pretty quickly, and with my mom and myself, I had to, I guess, be the two leaders of the household. It’s pretty interesting when I was actually helping to refinance the mortgage when I was 16 years old.  

Those two things really helped me to grow up. Plus just being the only Jew in high school, I think I got to learn about diversity and what it means to how people get treated, so I think that was really helpful in terms of wanting to create a platform for equal opportunity.