How I Became A Founder: ElectroNeek’s Mikhail Rozhin

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Mikhail Rozhin cofounded ElectroNeek in 2019 and became its CTO. He personally developed the first MVP of the future RPA platform. Prior to ElectroNeek, he was a team lead in Acronis, a Switzerland-based global leader in cyber protection. Before Acronis, he designed the architecture of applications for Smart TV platforms and was a senior application developer at Stream.

Mikhail is an expert in cloud architecture and visual programming tools. He holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Moscow State University and a Master’s in Economics from Higher School of Economics. His hobbies include listening to Latin American music and playing in amateur theater.

ElectroNeek cofounder Mikhail Rozhin.

Frederick Daso: When did you first gain interest in being a founder?

Mikhail Rozhin: I always wanted to challenge myself as a business owner, entrepreneur, being ultimately responsible for the team, and outcomes. I set particular accomplishments that I need to achieve before taking the risk of leaving a full-time job and, by the time I talked to Sergey and Dmitry about RPA, I was already hunting for a startup opportunity.

Daso: What were the essential experiences that helped you be in the position you are today?

Rozhin: After graduating from college with a math major, I enrolled in graduate school to study economics. Now, as an IT professional who manages a big development team, I understand that overall management and soft skills are more critical in driving outcomes as the startup grows than specific IT domain knowledge.

Daso: Who were the critical individuals or groups that contributed to your professional success, and why?

Rozhin: Support I receive from my family and cofounders is essential for me.

Daso: How did you prepare for yourself to become a founder?

Rozhin: To take the risk of launching a startup, especially as you get older, is hard without having a ‘plan B.’ For me, it was necessary to realize I have enough resources to fail, and if that happens, to stand up and get back to more a traditional career track.

Daso: Were there any particular clubs at school that were useful resources for breaking into your current field?

Rozhin: For it was an amateur theater and bachata dance school, these are the areas where I needed to get out of a comfort zone; now that (coming out of a comfort zone) happens mostly every day with a growing founder’s responsibilities.

Daso: What do you think stops most people from becoming a founder?

Rozhin: In the region whereI’m from, there are not so many entrepreneurial success stories that inspire young people to become entrepreneurs; many students would like to work for the government or large corporations. I think what stops most people is the lack of examples of how someone builds a large company without manipulating the system to own advantage.

Daso: Looking back, would you change anything about your professional path?

Rozhin: Looking back, I realized that in my pre-startup career, I sometimes followed the money and not the professional growth opportunities, so some of my employees bought my loyalty with promotions and bonuses. I’d encourage young professionals to challenge themselves with the opportunities that maximize learnings.

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Forbes Under 30 Contributor, 2016 LinkedIn Top Voice, Venture Fellow at Rough Draft Ventures

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