Slava Rubin, 33
Born in Minsk, Belarus, Rubin came to the U.S. with his family as a child. They settled at first in Brooklyn, then moved to northeast Pennsylvania. He was attracted to business and thought he wanted to be “a finance guy.” But after studying business at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Rubin decided he wanted to do “more than just finance. I want to make things and impact the world.”
The result is indiegogo.com, an innovative online “crowdfunding” site, which he says is “recognized as #1 global crowdfunding platform on the Internet.” Through “small investments,” he explains, he raises money for start-up firms that can’t afford major fundraising expenses. He has also applied his expertise to a wide variety of Jewish organizations. All told, he says, “each month we distribute millions of dollars globally.”
Rubin, who went to a Jewish day school in Pennsylvania through eighth grade, was a founder of “Operation Shalom,” that brings émigré Jews who live in northeast Pennsylvania into the Jewish community.”
A veteran of Birthright Israel — both as a participant, on a bike tour; later as a group leader — he has served as media adviser to several Jewish nonprofits in this country and Israel, and as a board member of iVolunteer. Rubin founded Music Against Myeloma (indiegogo.com/musicagainstmyeloma2012?a=104), which has raised more than $100,000 for research on the form of cancer that took the life of his father, Mark.
He now divides his time between New York City and San Francisco.
Wanderlust: A linguist who has studied Hebrew, Spanish, Japanese and Flemish, Rubin is a world traveler, reluctant to pick a favorite of the 48 countries he’s visited. “If I was forced, I would pick Nepal, Argentina, South Africa. Each has its own unique balance of natural beauty and cultural diversity.” Prospective pilot. He took some flying lessons, “then got a bit busy with indiegogo.”