Igor Linshits was born in Rustavi, Georgia into a family of engineers. After finishing school in Rustavi, Linshits moved to Moscow to study chemical engineering at the Lomonosov Institute of Fine Chemical Technology, graduating in 1988.
In 1988 Linshits established his first business manufacturing hairbrushes and combs. In 1990 he started, with partners, a business trading oil products that quickly become one of the largest oil products trading and processing businesses in Russia. In 1993 he spun-off from his partners to establish his own business: Neftyanoi. The business initially focused on trading commodities (esp. oil products, wheat and cotton) and then moved into direct investments. The most prominent deals were Lukoil-Neftekhim and mail.ru.
In the late 1990s Linshits invested in a petrochemical plant and, in partnership with Lukoil, established Lukoil-Neftekhim (which is known as Lukoil Chemical in English). Linshits sold his shares to Lukoil in 2000. In the same year, in cooperation with Yuri Milner, he bought 10% stake in mail.ru, then a largely unknown Russian internet portal. Over the next few years, he increased his ownership stake to more than 30%. Together with Milner, Linshits took an active role in the development of mail.ru which today is Russia’s second largest internet company by revenue.
In 2001 Linshits established a real estate development company, Delin Development which specialized in office property. Its largest project was Silver City, a 60,000 sq meter, class A office building in Moscow city center.
In 2009 Linshits immigrated to the United Kingdom where he became citizen and founded the Delin Group, an investment business with interests in real estate, technology, construction materials and agri-business. As part of the Delin Group, Linshits established Delin Capital Asset Management, a real estate investment advisor and asset manager focused on investments in logistics assets in the UK and the Netherlands.
In technology, Delin is an active investor in seed funds and early stage businesses. Linshits is also a member of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Cambridge-based venture fund IQ Capital Partners.
In 2004, Linshits appointed his close friend Boris Nemtsov (then a well-known and outspoken member of the Russian opposition who was assassinated in 2015) as the Chairman of Neftyanoi. Subsequent to Nemstov’s appointment, the Russian authorities accused Linshits and a number of employees of a subsidiary of banking regulation violations. In 2006 Linshits chose to emigrate from Russia. All charges against him were dropped in 2010.
Linshits and his wife Tatyana have three children.