|Birth Day:||November 11, 1961|
|Birth Place:||Los Altos, California, Russia|
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Born into a Jewish family on 11 November 1961 in Moscow, Yuri Milner was the second child of Russian intellectuals. His father, Bentsion Zakharovitch Milner, was active in the sphere of management and organization. He was Chief Deputy Director at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Betty Iosifovna Milner, Yuri's mother, worked at the capital's state-run virological laboratory for disease control. His older sister, eight years his senior, is an architect.
Milner studied theoretical physics at Moscow State University, graduating in 1985. He went on to work at Lebedev Physical Institute, one of the institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. As a doctoral candidate in particle physics, Milner befriended Soviet nuclear physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov. Sakharov's forward thinking would later influence Milner's venture investment strategy.
In 1990, Milner became the first non-émigré from the Soviet Union to travel to the United States to receive an Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The press quoted him as saying that he made this decision after "being disappointed in myself as a physicist." Milner was a commencement speaker for the Wharton Business School's 2017 class.. In September 2020 the Friends of Israel, the non-profit foundation founded by the Milner's, established an MBA fellowship at the Wharton School. This $10 million fellowship will support more than 60 Israeli students at Wharton over 10 years.
In December 1996, Milner worked as Vice President and Head of Investment Management of Menatep Bank. In February 1997 Milner was appointed the deputy chairperson and the head of the investment division of Menatep Bank but left this position in early 1998. At the time, the market makers described him as "a well-known professional, who will bring the bank valuable experience in international financial institutions and transactions in the Russian investment market".
In 1999, after reading a review by Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker on the prospects for online businesses, Milner decided to create an Internet company. He sought funding from his friend from Menatep days Gregory Finger, who at the time led the Russian branch of the US investment fund New Century Holding. The fund agreed to invest $4.5 million with the proviso that Milner and Finger each personally invest $750,000. Milner, Finger, and NCH created a new company, NetBridge. In 2000, Milner became the president of Netbridge Services Ltd (netBridge) – the company that was, "created as an Internet incubator and investment fund". Netbridge succeeded in transferring a variety of U.S.-pioneered Internet business models to Russia, creating companies including the portal List.ru, online auction site Molotok.ru (based on eBay), free web-hosting Boom.ru (based on GeoCities), and online shop 24×7, using the formula of Amazon.com.
In February 2001, netBridge and Port.ru (which owned Mail.ru) announced a merger. Milner became CEO of the new company named Mail.Ru (though the legal name Port.ru was also retained).
From January 2003 to December 2004, Milner was the CEO of "Neftyanoi", owned by Igor Linshits.
In 2005, NCH shifted its focus from Russian Internet projects and Milner founded the investment fund Digital Sky Technologies (DST), becoming its chairperson in 2006. A meeting through mutual friends resulted in Alisher Usmanov becoming a shareholder of Mail.ru Group in 2008.
From May 2009 to January 2012 Milner was a member of the Commission on Modernization established by Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President from 2008 to 2012.
In January 2009, while in Palo Alto, Milner became acquainted with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The meeting led to an agreement on 26 May 2009 under which DST bought a 1.96% stake in Facebook for $200 million.
In 2010 Mail.ru Group completed successful initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange with market valuation of $5.6 billion.
On 16 September 2010, Digital Sky Technologies (DST) changed its name to "Mail.ru Group". The group's portfolio included Mail.ru, Odnoklassniki.ru, ICQ, a minority stake in the social network VKontakte (Russian Facebook equivalent), online payments service OSMP.ru, e‑Port, as well as some other Russian assets. Milner's commercial interests in Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon were transferred to DST Global. Milner became the CEO of DST Global and the chairperson of the board of directors of Mail.ru Group. In November 2010, Mail.ru Group held its offering on the London Stock Exchange. In March 2012, Milner stepped down from the role of chairperson of Mail.ru and from the board of directors.
In an interview with Vedomosti in 2010, Milner said:
In 2011, Milner bought a $100 million home in Los Altos Hills, California. The compound spans three plots totaling seven hectares and includes a roughly 25,500-square-foot (2,370 m) main house and a 5,500-square-foot (510 m) guest house. The current tax bill is about $304,000 a year. The Wall Street Journal reported the price as $100 million, saying it was the most ever paid for a single-family home in the United States. The property is appraised by the Santa Clara County assessor at $50 million. Milner lives in Silicon Valley with his family. Milner attends synagogue, but is only minimally religiously observant.
In March 2012, Milner stepped down from the role of chairperson of Mail.ru and from the board of directors. Dmitry Grishin was elected to the board and appointed as chairperson while retaining his CEO position. There were no other changes to management or to the board.
In July 2012, Yuri and Julia Milner established the Breakthrough Prize, joined the following year by Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan, Anne Wojcicki and Mark Zuckerberg. The Prize is a set of international awards recognizing three fields of endeavor: Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, and Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. Laureates receive $3 million each in prize money, making the Breakthrough Prizes the largest scientific awards in the world. There are also New Horizons awards in physics and mathematics for younger researchers who had already shown produced and significant works.
In July 2015, Milner launched Breakthrough Initiatives, a scientific program to investigate the question of life in the Universe. He announced the initiatives at the Royal Society in London, alongside Stephen Hawking, Martin Rees, Frank Drake, Geoff Marcy and Ann Druyan.
In September 2015, the Breakthrough Prize launched the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a science competition for people between thirteen and eighteen years of age, in collaboration with Khan Academy.
On 5 November 2017, The New York Times reported that Milner had strong Kremlin backing for his investments in Facebook and Twitter. Milner denied this allegations in his open letter published in ReCode.
On 20 April 2017, the Breakthrough Discuss conference was held, during which the results of a year worth of data analysis was discussed. According to the researchers, 692 stars were analyzed.
In September 2017 Forbes included Milner to the list of 100 greatest living business minds. Milner was named one of the World's Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine in March 2017, was listed in the "Titans" category of Time magazine's 2016 Time 100. Foreign Policy magazine included Milner on its "Power List" – an inaugural list of the 500 most powerful people on the planet in May 2013. Milner was included in Bloomberg Markets' 2012 50 Most Influential list. In Fortune's 2010 list of the world's fifty most prominent businessmen, Milner was ranked 46th. That same year Russian business magazine Vedomosti recognized him as "Businessman of the Year".
On 29 January 2018, Milner's name was included in the United States Treasury Department's "Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 241 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 Regarding Senior Foreign Political Figures and Oligarchs in the Russian Federation and Russian Parastatal Entities" (CAATSA), a list of 96 individuals of Russian heritage who "have an estimated net worth of $1 billion or more".
In its response to a lawsuit asserting that the compilation of the list was "arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law", the Treasury Department has confirmed that it is "not challenging" the allegation that it had "simply republished" the Forbes billionaires list. In April 2020, in its annual Billionaire List Forbes magazine re-classified Yuri Milner from Russian list to Israeli list of billionaires, confirming his Israeli citizenship and close ties to the country.
On March 25, 2020, the Milner Foundation, a non-profit foundation founded by Yuri and Julia Milner, announced $3 million donation to three Israeli institutions: Magen David Adom, the national emergency medical response organization, which is operating an innovative project to reduce the number of people coming to clinics; Tel Aviv University Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, where it will support research efforts aiming to develop treatments for the virus; and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Ichilov Hospital, where it will directly fund the intensive care department that is caring for COVID-19 sufferers.
A few weeks later, Milner Foundation announced a donation of 3 million face masks for people of Israel. Yuri Milner in his open letter published by Calcalist wrote that "a significant fraction of these masks will go to organizations providing essential services, whose frontline workers are still required to do their jobs during the lockdown". The masks arrived to Ben Gurion Airport on April 16, 2020 on board of dedicated charted El Al “Jerusalem of Gold” Dreamliner plane and were distributed by Magen David Adom to its emergency services staff, as well as to a range of hospitals, government offices, and national institutions providing essential services to the public.
Currently, Yuri Milner is 61 years, 4 months and 12 days old. Yuri Milner will celebrate 62nd birthday on a Saturday 11th of November 2023.
Find out about Yuri Milner birthday activities in timeline view here.