How I Became A Founder: LegionFarm’s Alex Beliankin

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Alex Beliankin is the CEO of LegionFarm. LegionFarm is a part of Y Combinator’s W20 batch. They have raised $1.7 million in a seed round to date. I had the chance to speak with Beliankin about his journey to becoming a founder of his company.

Alex Beliankin, CEO of LegionFarm (left), and Michael Seibel, CEO of Y Combinator (right).

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

Alex Beliankin: When I was 20, I had a customer that spent $400k — $700k per month for salaries of our Clan. I was his hired CEO of this Clan. I had some pretty nice income. And he was a member of one of the wealthiest families on the planet. At some point, he decided not to pay salaries and stop playing games. So I was like: alright, what can I do to get this revenue back. So I became an entrepreneur. I tried to run gaming projects for three years in a row and always failed. Then I made Legionfarm, which finally started to grow. Now I got this revenue back, but it’s not one customer anymore. There are dozens of thousands of customers now.

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

Beliankin: My father always instilled willpower in me. He forced to engage in sports and develop discipline. My mother always tried to drag me deeper into science and education, which were the most competitive environments.

I remember how I screamed at my teammates during the game. My father flew into my room and crashed and destroyed the computer, saying that he was tired, that I was doing this garbage. And I answered him: Do you know what? I will make it an official profession.

Since then, I have been on this mission.

A couple of years later I dropped out of university and job as a geophysicist in an oil company to make my first gaming project, and my parents were insanely upset by this. Mom called and cried every day, begged to return to the old track, my father said that I was crazy, and games were wet fantasies.

All these things have influenced my psyche and becoming an entrepreneur. I will always remember these things; I think that these shocks have affected my life.

By the way, now I have a good relationship with my parents. :)

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

Alex Beliankin: I wouldn’t say that I’m super-successful. I think I have a long way to go in my mission.

But so far, the most significant contributors are my parents, my wife, my mentors from IIDF startup accelerator, and of course, our YC group partners: Michael Seibel and Kevin Lin. I work very closely with Mike, meet/communicate with him several times a week. I owe him a lot.

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

I think that this happened for many years in a row and gradually. At the moment when I felt that I became an entrepreneur, I was already an entrepreneur for a long time.

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

Beliankin: Unfortunately, no. But I’m happy that there are now companies that bring eSports to schools and universities. They are doing a great job. I think the world becomes more and more conscious about simulations. I believe that soon people are going to understand that even our life is a simulation.

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

Beliankin: some people should not become entrepreneurs. It seems to me that successful entrepreneurs are people with a particular personality that is developed in childhood and remains with you for life. Some people look at entrepreneurs and also want to become them, but they will be much happier doing something else. This is a tough path, which for some people, it might be painful. If you feel pain — it’s better not to chew glass. If you don’t feel pain — yeah, you can do this over and over and level up systematically.

I think that foolishness, courage, and luck to get on the right track at the right time are the main factors in becoming an entrepreneur. If you don’t have one of three things, then you will probably always be stopped by something.

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

Beliankin: Unfortunately, it’s impossible. But yeah, of course, if you put my current brain into my 14-years old body, I would do completely different things. But I still got a lot of time to do what I want. I would rather change the future than the irreversible past.

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

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