Yuri Milner – The Man with the ‘Digital’ Midas Touch

Yuri Milner is a Russian business tycoon, internet investor, venture capitalist, and entrepreneur. Milner is famed of being the co-founder and current president of DST or Digital Sky Technologies, which a Russian investment firm is specializing in the internet sector. Digital Sky Technologies was previously known as Mail.ru Group. Milner is also a founder of DST Global, another investment company.

Fortune magazine featured Milner as the 46th most important business person in the world in 2010— the only Russian in that list. In the same year, 2010, he was named as the Businessman of the Year by a Russian business magazine, the Vedomosti. Milner also featured in the Bloomberg Markets Magazine in the list of the 50 most influential people in the world in 2012.


Yuri Milner – Investments

Through his two companies, Milner has invested in an enviable list of successful digital companies like Facebook ($200 million), Spotify, Twitter($800 million), Zynga, ZocDoc, Alibaba, Flipkart($210 million), Planet Labs, Groupon, Whatsapp ($125 million), Practo, Xiaomi, Ola Cabs ($315 million), Farfetch ($86 million), AirBnB, Zoomo ($2 million) and 360Buy.com. His future business plans are industrialization of venture capital as well as investment in all startups that originate from Y Combinator, which is an incubator based within the Silicon Valley.

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Yuri Milner has in partnership with Google and Reinet Investments S.C.A has pooled in $100 million  in a California-based company called Carbon3D. The company is said to be valued at $1 billion.  Carbon3D technology is a printing technology that creates objects from resin puddles, some what like we saw in the creation of T-1000 robot in Terminator 2 Judgement Day. The technology is called CLIP or Continuous Liquid Interface Production, which promises a speed of 50-100 times faster than traditional 3-D printing technology.

Milner has also invested $100 million in a non-profit initiative called ‘Breakthrough Listen’ along with scientist Stephen Hawking,  which is a quest for finding extraterrestrial life.

Yuri Milner – background

Milner was born 11 November 1961 in Moscow and came from a Jewish family consisting of Russian Intellectuals. His father deputized at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Economics. He is an eminent expert in organization and management.

Milner was born the same year when Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut went into space— and it’s from this that his parents named him Yuri. Milner is known to be a workaholic and performs his work at a robotic pace. He is a former graduate of Wharton business school where he studied particle physics and management. He likes playing chess and watching Discovery Channel.

Yuri Milner picture

Milner joined Moscow State University where he graduated in 1985 having studies theoretical physics. Milner works at Lebedev Physical Institute, and while pursuing his doctorate in particle physics, he established friendship with a renown forward thinking nuclear physicist and a human rights activist, Andrei Sakharov. It’s this activist who influenced Milner to gain tactics on venture investment.

In 1990, Milner headed to US where he studied MBA at the Wharton School of Business thereby becoming the first Soviet Union non-émigré to achieve that position.

Yuri Milner – Wife

yuri milner wife julia

Milner is married to Julia Milner, who is a contemporary artist and a distinguished photographer. Julia Milner is a former model featured in high fashion. They have two children and they reside in Moscow.


Yuri Milner – career progress

Milner’s career started early 1990s when he became a Russian banking specialist with World Bank in Washington, D.C. In his job, he handles issues of development of banking within the private sector. Milner became the CEO of Alliance-Menatep, an investment brokerage in 1995. At the end of 1996, he became the Head of Investment Management as well as the Vice President at Menatep Bank. He further became the head of investment section and deputized the chairman of the bank.

During the period between 1997 and 2000, he concurrently held the position of Director General of New Trinity Investments— also an investment fund company. During this time, he read about an articles detailing information about projections for online businesses, which was written by Mary Meeker. Mary Meeker was an analysis working with Morgan Stanley, and it’s from the articles that inspired Milner to launch an internet company.

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Through financial help of Gregory Finger who was then heading the Russian branch of NCH known as New Century Holding, he started the internet venture. The company was named NetBridge, and it was a joint venture of Milner, NCH, and Finger. Through this company, they replicated various American Internet business models right in Russia something that saw the creation of various websites such as the Molotok.ru, and online auction like eBay. They also created other sites like List.ru portal, which took the model of Amazon, and Boom.ru, which adopted the model of free web hosting like GeoCities. In 2001, the company merged with Port.ru, thereby being named as Mail.ru with Milner becoming the CEO.

In 2005, following the departure of NCH, Milner started Digital Sky Technologies, and in 2006, he became the chairman of DST investment. In 2010, Mail.ru Group completed its IPO listing on the London Stock Exchange with a market valuation of $5.6 billion. In 2012, Milner resigned from the post of Chairman of Mail.ru and Board of Directors where he was replaced by Dmitry Grishin.


Milner is also a renowned philanthropist having established the Fundamental Physics Prize sometimes in July 2012. This is regarded as the world’s most lucrative academic/scientific monetary award. Together with Priscilla Chan, Sergey Brin, Arthur Levinson, Anne Wojcicki, and Mark Zuckerberg, they announced the formation of Life Sciences in Feb 2013, which was a Breakthrough Prize.

Yuri Milner-net worth

According to Forbes, Milner is estimated to have a net worth of $3.1 billion.

Yuri Milner – House

Yuri Milner house yuri milner home pictures yuri milner house images yuri milner house photos yuri milner house pictures 2 yuri milner house pictures Yuri Milner house

The man with the Midas touch is the owner of a $100 million home in Los Altos Hills, California. The area covers three plots, covering seven hectares with a 25,500 square-foot big house and an adjoining guest house spanning 5,500 square feet area. The Wall Street Journal has said that the price of the house is the highest ever paid for a single family house in the US.

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