Ruslan Kogan

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Ruslan Kogan
Ruslan Kogan Founder and CEO Kogan Technologies.jpg
Born November 1982[1]
Bobruysk, Belarus[2][3]
Residence Melbourne, Australia
Nationality Australian
Alma mater Monash University
Net worth Increase A$320 million (2014)[4]
Website
http://www.kogan.com.au/ruslan-kogan/

Ruslan Kogan (born November 1982)[1][5] is a serial entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Kogan Technologies as well as one of the founders of Milan Direct, an Australian and UK furniture retailer.[6][7][8] He was Australia's richest person under the age of 30 from 2011 to his 30th birthday in November 2012. His wealth has multiplied more than 20 times in half a decade, making him one of the richest 200 in Australia's Rich List 2014, with a personal wealth valued at $320 million.[9]

Kogan holds several publicised controversial views regarding the consumer technology industry, expressing his opposition to the Australian Government's proposed internet filter[10] as well as lambasting them for their handling of the Set Top Box Scheme.[11] He was also the only executive from a consumer electronics vendor in Australia to campaign against the introduction of 3DTV into homes around the world.[12][13]

He has written articles as both a guest and regular for several large media outlets, including a guest article for Forbes giving his views on Facebook,[14] a guest article for Fast Company (magazine) about the importance of social proof in business,[15] a guest article for VentureBeat about affiliate marketing,[16] a guest post on Gizmodo outlining his opposition to the filter[17] and The Age regarding the future of TV.[18] He was also a guest columnist for business magazine BRW throughout 2011,[19] and has on several occasions provided guest opinions on the world's largest technology blog, TechCrunch.[20][21]


Early life[edit]

Ruslan Kogan was born to Belarusian parents,[22][23] and moved with his sister Svetlana and parents to Australia in 1989.[24]

He grew up in the Elsternwick Housing Commission flats, and started his first business at the age of 10 by finding lost golf balls, cleaning them and selling them for $0.50/each[24] to golfers at Elsternwick Golf Course on Saturday mornings.[25]

He was interested in technology from an early age, building his first computer at the age of nine.[26] He has started approximately 20 businesses since the age of 10, with Kogan Technologies his most recent and most successful venture.[27]

He attended Brighton Secondary College and Melbourne High School[2] before going on to complete a Bachelor of Business Systems (Information Technology) at Monash University.[28]

By the age of 23 he had worked at the IT departments of Bosch, GE, Telstra, and was a management consultant at Accenture.[29]

Starting Kogan[edit]

Ruslan Kogan left his job at Accenture in 2006,[30] and started Kogan Technologies at the age of 23 in 2006 from his parents' garage in Melbourne, Australia. [31]

When he was asking factories to provide quotes for the manufacturing of the first production run of Kogan TVs, he claims the factories laughed at him, and would not accept his small order.[32][33]

He realised he was able to create a business benefit for the factory beyond the small initial order. He noticed that the organisations he was dealing with had poorly laid out marketing material, with incorrect spelling and grammar, and so reworked all of their material. After he sent them the work, they replied to him and accepted the initial order, and even gave him a better price. A week later, they told him that they had just won a large contract with a US customer because their documentation was the most professional.[32]

When Kogan began to sell TVs on eBay, the TVs were in full production and he needed to pay the supplier, but eBay shut his account down because he was yet to receive any feedback. He had no way of paying the remaining amount for the first production run. He was forced to apply for many credit cards, ask his friends to do the same, and take cash advances on all of them.[34]

Following this, he travelled to China, of the whole container load of TVs, personally inspected each one, watched the loading onto the truck, got in a taxi and followed the truck driver to the port to make sure the container made it on to the vessel.[34]

The company rapidly expanded to a broader range of products such as Digital Radios, GPS devices, Netbooks, Tablets, and Video Cameras,[35] and in September 2011 began selling complementary products from a range of brands including Apple, Canon, Nikon, Samsung, Motorola and others.[36]

In 2010, following the launch of Milan Direct, Kogan Technologies expanded to the UK, with the launch of www.kogan.co.uk.[37] From day one, Ruslan Kogan had his sight set on making the Kogan company a global brand,[38] in the last few years Kogan began to sell products in Belgium, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, and the US.

Kogan achieved $3 million in its third year,[39] followed by $8 million in the fourth,[40] $22 million in the fifth,[41] $70 million in the sixth,[42] and over $200 million in the seventh year.[43] Kogan is projected to produce more than A$350 million in fiscal 2014, and has been growing at between 200% and 300% per year since its 2006 inception.[44] The Wall Street Journal speculates Kogan is worth over $400M.[45] More than 2 million products have been delivered by Kogan, with daily sales of more than $1 million. [46]

Having started with no external funding or capital, Kogan Technologies has grown to become one of Australia's fastest growing businesses in any industry.[29][47][48][49]

Awards[edit]

Ruslan Kogan and his company Kogan Technologies have won the following awards:

  • Top 50 Most Influential People in Tech. Joins Mark Zuckerberg and Mike Cannon-Brookes as the only Gen Ys on the list.[50]
  • SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30 CEOs[51]
  • The Australian Top 5 Young Chief Executives.[52]
  • T3 29th most influential person in the technology industry.[53]
  • Virgin Australia Top Guns in Tech.[54]
  • The Age Top 100 most influential people in 2008.[55]
  • BRW Young Rich List 2009 with a reported wealth of A$15M.[56]
  • BRW 2009 Fast Starters list at rank 37.[57]
  • BRW 2010 Fast 100 at rank 15.[58]
  • BRW 2010 Fast Starters list at rank 17.[59][60]
  • BRW Young Rich List 2010 with a reported wealth of A$29M.[61]
  • Charter Security Retail Innovator of the Year 2010[62]
  • Anthill Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs for 2010[63]
  • The Age Top 100 most influential people in 2011.[64]
  • BRW 2011 Fast 100 at rank 27.[47]
  • SmartCompany 2011 Hot 30 Under 30.[65]
  • BRW 2011 Young Rich List with a reported wealth of A$62 million, Australia's richest person under the age of 30 (2011 - 2012, his 30th birthday).[66]
  • BRW 2012 Young Rich List with a reported wealth of A$145 million.[67]
  • BRW 2012 Fast 100 at rank 14, with a reported wealth of A$75.2M.[68]
  • Men's Style Magazine 2012 Men of Influence.[69]
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Southern Region Winner[70]
  • Deloitte Technology Fast 50 - 4th fastest growing technology company in Australia in 2012.[71]
  • BRW Fast 100 2012 - Ranked 14[72]
  • BRW 2013 Young Rich List at number 4, with a reported wealth of A$315 million[73]
  • BRW 2014 Rich List at number 162, valued at $320 million[74]

Open Source[edit]

Kogan has been a strong believer in open source solutions for many years, telling Computerworld: "We are huge believers in cloud computing and open source software. The reasons are simple: open source software is usually faster, better and has more features."[75]

Kogan believes that open source tablets like Android present a significant challenge to the Apple iPad's dominance of the tablet market, and was the first to launch an open source tablet in the UK for under £100.[76]

In Australia, he launched a laptop running the open source version of Google's Chrome OS before multinationals like Samsung and Acer could launch their own products.[77]

Criticism[edit]

Ruslan Kogan is known for using social media to take a swipe at his competitors[78] and has been accused of making 'outlandish statements' through his company’s blog about giant retailers like JB Hi-Fi.[79]

At Kickstart Forum 2008, in Gold Coast Australia, Ruslan Kogan was called a 'loudmouthed punk', when he said the future of retail was heading online.[80]

Personal life[edit]

Kogan purchased a BMW Z4 in 2010 and is training for a pilot's licence.[81] He rents an apartment on St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, overlooking Albert Park Lake.[24]

Kogan was the first Australian to register as a passenger on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceflight, having paid a deposit on the US$200,000 ticket.[82][83][84][85]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]