It is so rare to sit with a math genius leader who has won over the casinos and is now transforming venture capitalism through impact investment. Semyon Dukach, known for leading one of the MIT blackjack teams in the early 90s, featured in the movie Breaking Vegas, serial entrepreneur, and investor, shares with us his story and leadership beliefs. Semyon is focused on impact investing as a VC and more specifically backing exceptional immigrants. With his strong belief that “opportunity should be the same for everybody”, he is extensively working to improve equity and global impact through his leadership and investment philosophy.
“Love makes the world go round.”
MEET OUR GUESTSemyon Dukach Managing Partner, One Way Ventures, the venture capital fund backing exceptional immigrant tech founders who are building great companies like Brex, Momentus Space, and Chipper Cash.
Semyon Dukach, Managing Partner at One Way Ventures, the venture capital fund backing exceptional immigrant tech founders building great companies like Brex, Momentus Space, and Chipper Cash. Semyon is a refugee from the Soviet Union and was formerly the Managing Director of Techstars.
Prior to Techstars, he was a prolific angel investor and a friend of the startup community. Semyon has made over 100 angel investments, including early investments in Quanergy, SMTP.com, and Wanderu. Xconomy lists Semyon as a top angel investor in New England.
His philosophy has been to focus on helping his founders at all costs. Prior to becoming a full-time angel, Semyon co-founded several technology companies including Vert and Fast Engines. Fast Engines was sold to Adero in 2000. Beyond startups, Semyon is known for leading one of the MIT blackjack teams in the early 90s to beat the casinos.
Semyon earned his B.S. from Columbia University and M.S. from MIT, both in Computer Science.
Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love. I am Naji, your host for this podcast joined today by Semyon Dukach, Managing Partner at One Way Ventures, the venture capital fund backing exceptional immigrant tech founders who are building great companies like Brex, Momentus Space, and Chipper Cash. Semyon is a refugee from the Soviet Union and formerly the Managing Director of Techstars (Boston). Prior to Techstars, he was a…
“How can I increase impact and prosperity for all” has been the guiding principle for Dina Sherif an impact-driven entrepreneur, Senior Lecturer, and Executive Director of MIT Legatum. Through this lens, we discussed impact, sustainability, social change, and the key ingredient to successfully building startups that will make the world a better place. A lot has to do with intentionality about the purpose and strong belief in human equality that “everyone is allowed”… One of the most powerful reactions to “Spread Love in Organizations” we heard here from Dina: “In a world filled with hate and unkindness, organizations need more love and real true kindness. When this culture is there, you’re lifting up the bar asking people to show up as the best versions of themselves.”
“Today more than ever, we need love and real true kindness on how we show up for each other in the workplace.”
MEET OUR GUESTDina Sherif Entrepreneur, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, and Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship.
Dina Sherif is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management where she also acts as Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. Dina is also a Founding Partner of Cairo based Ahead of the Curve, which is the Arab region’s leading firms on issues related to sustainable business growth and impact-driven entrepreneurship. Most recently, Dina joined Disruptech, Egypt’s first Fintech-focused venture capital fund as a Partner, pursuing her passion in building a fund that will support technology being used as a critical tool in creating financial inclusion for a largely unbanked population, most specifically women.
Formerly, Dina was a Senior Advisor to Ashoka, providing support to their Global Venture/Fellowship Support arm and helping them reimagine new ways to identify the world’s leading social innovators. She also held the endowed Willard Brown Chair for International Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC), where she was also the Founding Director of their Center for Entrepreneurship. During the time she held the Brown Chair, Dina also taught classes on social entrepreneurship and business ethics. Prior to the above, Dina helped establish the John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at AUC.
Dina has been the lead author of several publications including the book From Charity to Social Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy and key reports such as the 2015 UNDP Business Solutions Report and the first of its kind 7 country study on trends in responsible business practice in the Arab region, in addition to other key policy pieces and blogs on the importance of entrepreneurship and impact investing to building more sustainable and inclusive societies.
In acknowledgment of her dedication to creating a new way of doing business, Dina was given the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Egypt by the American Chamber of Commerce in 2016; was recognized by the Embassy of India as a “Woman of Substance” in 2016; was chosen as one of 10 United Nations Global Compact Sustainable Development Goal Pioneers in 2016; and was named as one of the top 50 most influential women by the Amwal Al Ghad Magazine. During her time at the Harvard Kennedy School, Dina was also a recipient of the prestigious Lucius Littauer Fellows Award in recognition of academic excellence and service. Dina is also an Eisenhower Fellow and was also a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Dina is currently a member of the Special Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development reporting to the President of Egypt; a Global Advisory Board Member in the Eisenhower Fellowships; a member of the Board of Qalaa Holding, a member of the Board of Smart Medical Services, and a member of the Board of EducateMe.
Dina holds a Masters of Public Administration and Management from the Harvard Kennedy School, an MA in Economic Development Studies from the American University in Cairo, and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the American University in Cairo. She is also a graduate of the non-credit leadership program delivered by THNK School for Creative Leadership in Amsterdam.
Areas of Expertise: Entrepreneurship | Development of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Sustainable Economic Development | Impact Investing | Strategic Philanthropy | Responsible Business Practices | Gender Equality and Economic Inclusion of Women | Qualitative Research
Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love. I’m Naji your host for this podcast, joined today with Dina Sherif, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan, and executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. Dina is also a founding partner of Cairo based, Ahead of the Curve, which is the Arab region’s leading firms on issues related to sustainable business growth and impact-driven entrepreneurship. Most recently, Dina…