Alex Mashinsky is an entrepreneur who has founded several notable technology firms in the United States. He founded Arbinet in 1996 as a commodity exchange for telecommunication companies to trade unused long-distance minutes. Mashinsky's' other company, VoiceSmart, was one of the first firms to offer telecommunications switches to handle ordinary voice as well as Voice over IP call routing.
Mashinsky founded GroundLink in 2004 as a service to book an on-demand limousine and car services from a computer or smartphone. He was also the founder of Q-Wireless, which later became part of Transit Wireless. From 2014 to 2015, Mashinsky served as CEO of Novatel He currently serves as CEO of the Celsius Network which is a CeFi lending platform operated by use of blockchain technologies. Mashinsky lives in New York City with his wife Krissy Mashinsky and 6 children.
Mashinsky was born in Ukraine and grew up in Israel. From an early age, he was a tinkerer, like his father, and would tap into and use public phone lines in Israel. Mashinsky attended a few different universities where he majored in electrical engineering but did not graduate. He later served in the Israeli Army. At the end of the 1980s, he left Israel and moved to the United States.
After relocating to New York City, Mashinsky ran a business trading contracts for delivery of chemicals such as urea, gold, and sodium cyanide. However, after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the business slowed as exports of sodium cyanide from China fizzled. Mashinsky then worked at A+ Systems, a computer-based voicemail software company for phone carriers.
He was also an early developer of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). In the early 1990s, he founded VoiceSmart, one of the first companies to offer computer-based VOIP phone service. By 1993, Mashinsky had realized the potential for a commodity market for international telephone capacity. So, in 1996, Mashinsky founded Arbinet, a marketplace for VOIP telephone service. The platform was one of the first to allow telecommunication companies to trade minutes. In November 1997, Arbinet began offering a similar service for data connectivity, allowing the more than 400 T1 lines connected to its New York hub to exchange their unused bandwidth.
In 2005, he sold his stake in Arbinet and used part of the profits from the sale to start GroundLink. The company allowed people to book limousine and car service from a smartphone or computer. Mashinsky was inspired to start the company after a car he had reserved for him and his wife failed to pick them up and a business associate he was trying to impress from the airport. In 2010, Mashinsky organized a joint venture between GroundLink and several limousine and car service companies. These companies with LimoRes Car & Limo Service, a company Mashinsky also founded, installed free Wi-Fi service funded solely by sales of advertising. He also partnered with Gogo Inflight Internet to offer the free service on US flights.
Mashinsky's company Q-Wireless is one of the four companies that made up Transit Wireless, a joint venture to install wireless cellphone and free Wi-Fi internet service in the New York City Subway system. It took Mashinsky three years to convince Metropolitan Transportation Authority to initiate a survey to determine if there was a demand for cell phone service inside the subway system and two more years for the authority to request a proposal. By 2010, his company had received a contract to install the service at 277 below-ground subway stations in New York City.
In April 2014, Mashinsky was named to the board of directors of Novatel which is a provider of Wi-Fi hotspot products. He was appointed CEO in June of that year. In October 2015, Mashinsky left his position at Novatel after a year and a half as CEO of the company.
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