Ivan Starinin (Leslie)
Born 1993

Coral Gables, FL


I am Ivan Starinin, born into a lineage that traces back to the Scottish clan Leslie, a branch that ventured from Scotland to the Russian Empire, finding themselves in proximity to the czar before the revolution unfolded. My birth in the 90s into a family of a small business owner and a homemaker in a post-Soviet context underscored a narrative of resilience and adaptability. Guided by my mother's unwavering ambition for my success, I navigated my educational journey to the Higher School of Economics, a beacon of academic excellence modeled after the London School of Economics. My major in Economic Sociology was a gateway to my fascination with behavioral economics, a realm that shed light on the quirks of human behavior and underscored the need for innovative tools and systems to navigate them.

My first job, and indeed my only traditional employment, was working for my father as a courier. For a month or two, I labored under the scorching 100F summer sun, carrying heavy bags of office equipment, each weighing about 30 pounds. The income from this grueling work allowed me to purchase my first MacBook, which, to my chagrin, could only run outdated software due to its legacy chip. This experience cemented my resolve to never work for anyone else again.

My introduction to Bitcoin came through a magazine called "Hacker". Intrigued by the concept, I bought my first FPGA boards and began mining. This was in 2011, and while it didn't make me wealthy at the time, it opened up a new world for me. I delved into the realm of crypto and soon launched my first business, a trading bot. The business model was straightforward: I sold licenses to use the software. I experimented with the pricing, starting at $100 and eventually reaching $10k per license. However, as the price increased, so did customer demands, to the point where I couldn't manage the project alone. This was my first business venture, and it taught me how to sell online. It was time to launch a new business.

During my university years, I dabbled in hacking, even managing to infiltrate HSE's internal server system. It was during this time that I met my future business partner, Alexander Salnikov, who is now building Rarible. I take pride in the fact that many of the people I employed have since become millionaires, including Alex. We built several successful and unsuccessful projects together, at one point even sharing a wallet containing a couple of million USD.

One of our significant projects was a crypto exchange called MarginCall. It was one of the fastest and most advanced exchanges of its time. We even had an agreement with Vitalik Buterin that our exchange would be the first to launch ETH, although that didn't come to fruition. We sold MarginCall successfully later, and the experience taught me how to launch projects from scratch, attract investors, and design products.

Next, we established CoinOffering, the first company to have its shares on the Ethereum blockchain. We open-sourced this technology, and to my knowledge, several companies, including Ambisafe, which sells pre-IPO tokenized shares of Airbnb and SpaceX, use it today. This venture significantly enhanced my understanding of legal matters.

During the ICO wave, I served as a marketing and strategy specialist, helping various projects raise funds. Some of these campaigns attracted attention from high-profile figures like Vitalik Buterin. We managed to raise several dozen million dollars, a feat I am immensely proud of. This experience further honed my skills in marketing and PR.

Feeling that I had reached a plateau in Europe and seeking a new challenge, I decided to relocate to the US. I was granted the EB1 green card for extraordinary abilities and lived in Miami for two years, drawn by the prospect of a new crypto valley, which unfortunately didn't materialize.

In my leisure time, I enjoy motorsports such as go-kart racing, drifting, and time attack. Beyond the thrill of speed, I've taken to the courts and fields to broaden my athletic pursuits, having recently embraced golf, and learned tennis and fencing. Always eager to challenge myself and refine my skills, I am currently on the lookout for sparring partners in both tennis and fencing.

Currently, I am developing UnreadAI, an AI app that compiles a daily digest of all the information you consume, including work and personal emails, chats, social networks, and more  Glambase - a platform that allows to create and monetize AI influencers in one click. If you'd like to connect, feel free to reach out at hello@ivanstarinin.com