Today, the investor has over a hundred investments in IT startups, joint investment activities with Andreessen Horowitz and Twitter, several of his own technology companies, as well as educational and charitable projects under his belt. And it all started with a code published in a paper magazine that the future businessman rewrote and developed into his first website. Sergey Tokarev, the founder of the Ukrainian technology company Roosh, explains what prompted him to become not just an IT specialist but to invest in this and other areas.
Curiosity fosters development
Sergey Tokarev is convinced that he owes his career as an IT specialist and investor to his own curiosity. It is this feature that fosters development, motivates to study, and soars to new heights. According to the entrepreneur, he really likes watching the world around him, finding out how new technologies work, and learning new things from different people. Literally, everything that surrounds the businessman can arouse his childish interest.
Thanks to this feature the investor got acquainted with the IT industry. In 1998, he got hold of a magazine where the HTM code of a “Home Page” was published. Sergey rewrote and launched it. The result was something like “Welcome to the Page of Sergey Tokarev.”
This became an incentive to study the codes of other websites. Tokarev examined the blocks of codes one by one, changed some of them, restarted, and watched how templates or other elements of the website were changing. It was curiosity that shaped this mindset in the future investor.
What will remain in history after you?
Many years have passed since the first experiments of Sergey Tokarev on the code, and he managed to work both as an ordinary employee and in managerial positions. But this helped him take a deep dive into the IT industry, create more than a dozen of his own projects and, ultimately, become an investor. According to the businessman, his mission is to develop other entrepreneurs and product companies who could share their achievements, failures, and experiences with each other.
Tokarev came to this philosophy thanks to two phrases Igor Khanin, the rocket construction engineer, once told him. These are “The cell lives while it divides” and “What will remain in history after you when you die? Money? Who needs them!” They altered the investor’s mindset fundamentally and made him understand how important it is to share everything, including experience and money.
Angel investing philosophy
Thanks to the experience gained, Sergey Tokarev has developed his own principle of angel investing. He believes that it is not enough just to give money. A business angel needs to help founders cope with their problems, mentor them, suggest how to improve efficiency and give them an opportunity to establish the necessary contacts. That is, to become a kind of guardian angel for startups.
It is this principle that Sergey Tokarev is trying to embody in the social initiative AI HOUSE, created with his participation. This project aims to develop products based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The community brings together students, founders, investors, and developers working in the AI and ML areas. Collaboration allows the project participants to improve their skills and gain experience. And in the future, AI HOUSE will help Ukraine become a European hub for ML and AI development.