The Future Of Networking

Yasha Filippenko
Exiting Founder of SailPlay and Founder of Intch
1hr 36min
August 24, 2023
About the Show

"A tectonic shift is happening in the world of work. People and companies are starting to behave differently."

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Yasha Filippenko is exiting founder of Sailplay, a B2C marketing automation platform, and the founder of Intch, a professional social networking platform. Born in Kazakhstan and later moving to Russia, Yasha specialized in mathematics, a path that eventually led him into the realm of technology. His tech career kicked off at Yandex, Russia's largest search engine, providing him with invaluable industry insights and experiences. Yasha then moved on to launch his first company, navigating through a series of challenges before successfully exiting. His entrepreneurial journey didn't stop there; after a stint at a venture capital firm where he further honed his business acumen, he initiated his most recent venture, Intch.

In the interview, Yasha delves into an array of relevant and informative topics for young entrepreneurs, founders, business owners, and MBA students. He shares the story of his humble beginnings, providing listeners with a candid account of the twists and turns he encountered while building and exiting his first company. Yasha's experience in both startup and venture capital realms offers listeners valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of launching and scaling a business. Furthermore, the journey of Intch, his latest venture, provides practical insights into the tenacity and vision required to sustain and grow a successful enterprise. This episode is a treasure trove of entrepreneurial wisdom, from understanding market dynamics to navigating venture capital, making it a must-listen for those keen on the entrepreneurial journey.

Episode Resources: 

Sailplay: ⁠https://sailplay.net/⁠

Intch: ⁠https://intch.org/⁠

Yasha’s LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/in/yfilippenko/⁠

Key Moments

The Future Of Networking

Discover the intriguing journey of Yasha Filippenko, a Russian mathematician turned entrepreneur, who faced numerous challenges while building a startup from scratch. Explore the essential skills, experiences, and strategies that contributed to his success - and learn why the world of work is changing faster than we could possibly imagine. 

From Russia With Numbers

Yasha Filippenko's story is one that transcends the traditional trajectory of an entrepreneur. Born in Kazakhstan, he moved to Russia at a young age, where he began to hone his skills in mathematics. This early passion for numbers didn't just stay in the classroom; it set the stage for an unexpected yet remarkable journey into technology and entrepreneurship.

As Yasha delved deeper into the realm of numbers, he found his interest in technology growing. His career began at Russia's largest search engine company, where he was exposed to the intricate workings of tech-based solutions. This experience provided the impetus for Yasha to merge his mathematical skills with a burgeoning interest in technology. Little did he know, this fusion of interests was the start of an incredible entrepreneurial journey.

Building a Startup: The Birth of an Idea

Building a startup is a daunting task. It requires an amalgamation of hard work, unwavering determination, and innovative thinking. Yasha, equipped with a strong mathematical background and a budding passion for technology, was well-prepared to embark on this challenging journey. Leaving his stable job at the search engine company, Yasha took a leap of faith with a simple idea: to leverage his unique understanding of technology and mathematics to develop innovative solutions for B2C Marketing Automation. He used his skills as a project manager to build the right team, a skill that he says he heavily relied on at that time. However, no matter the team, the journey from an idea to reality is rarely a straight path.

Failing, Then Succeeding to Sell A Business

Building a successful business was not the end of the road for Yasha. After getting featured in Forbes Magazine, he was approached to sell his business to a Russian company if he met a series of requirements set up by the acquiring organization, including moving back to Russia and increasing revenue without needing to increase profitability. From then, Yasha began the long and arduous process of due diligence, in which every piece of his business was carefully scrutinized for flaws. 

The due diligence process took 9 long months, serving as an expensive and deleterious distraction from the daily grind of keeping a growing startup a float. Yasha’s team was holding out hope when, only 2 weeks before the acquisition, the primary contact from the acquiring company disappeared. That person’s replacement was not interested in completing the acquisition, and the deal fell apart. With the deal in pieces, Yasha found his business was floundering and his relationship with his Cofounder was in even worse condition

Despite these challenges, Yasha remained undeterred. His perseverance and commitment to his vision bore fruit as he successfully launched his startup. The company, rooted in mathematical principles and powered by technology, offered cutting-edge solutions that significantly impacted the industry. Eventually the acquisition of Yasha’s dreams was able to take place, and this time everyone showed up to the bargaining table. 

Social Networking and the Future Of Work

When building his company in the United States with no professional network to lean on, Yasha noticed some important changes that were happening in the world of professional networking and behavior. He found that traditional platforms like LinkedIn might not fully cater to the modern worker's needs—those who seek flexibility, a deeper connection with like-minded professionals, or a platform that aligns with the evolving nature of work. As Yasha points out, the dynamics of the workplace are changing, and there's a strong desire among many to redefine their professional lives. 

This was the aha-moment that led to Intch, Yasha's latest venture. Yasha's platform is his answer to this changing tide, aiming to provide value by harnessing the collective power of its user base. It's a gentle reminder that as our professional landscapes shift, so too should the tools we use to navigate them.

The Power of Perseverance and Innovation

From a mathematician in Russia to building a startup from scratch, Yasha’s journey offers valuable lessons for budding entrepreneurs. It underscores the importance of leveraging one's unique skills, embracing challenges, and remaining committed to one's vision. Indeed, Yasha's story is an inspiring tale of turning mathematical prowess into entrepreneurial success.

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