The most important and ambitious thing anyone can do during their lifetime is to positively impact others and society as a whole.
Growing up in a family of doctors, engineers, writers, and public servants, my family lived and breathed this commitment of service to their community. I dreamed of following my father into medicine and would drop everything at the chance to tag along with him and see how he transformed his patients’ lives.
I grew up in Albania, a communist country left in the dark since WWII. Despite having few resources, my family valued education, hard work, and self-reliance above all else, which sparked my entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. My father passed away during our revolution in ’91. The new capitalist system that prevailed fascinated me, and I watched as others started their own private enterprises. It was a new form of freedom. To help our family, I started my first business at 7 years old. At 12, I got my first computer and taught myself how to code. This led to a breakthrough moment for me when I realized that technology & software could allow me to reach not just hundreds of people but thousands or even millions. It was a pivotal time in my country’s history. The following year I joined a team of 5 people who brought the internet to Albania for the first time.
Unfortunately, a few years later, at 15, I was diagnosed with cancer. After a year of failed therapy, I was given a year and a half to live, and in a last-ditch effort for treatment and survival, I set my sights on the United States. Through sheer perseverance & determination, I was able to move to the U.S. to undergo a series of life-saving treatments, culminating in a bone-marrow transplant in 2004.
During this time, I learned English from nurses at the hospital and started applying for colleges. I still envisioned myself as a doctor and wanted to help people. I worked various jobs while in college to pay for my education, eventually dropping out to focus full-time on building my first U.S. company. I realized once more that software allowed me to impact millions of people versus tens of patients at a time.
I live the American Dream. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue my passions, satisfy my insatiable curiosity, and help others build their businesses in various industries. To me, venture is not solely about taking a company from zero to IPO. It is a lifelong journey that empowers people to achieve their goals and realize their full potential. It is about making a difference in people’s lives by supporting their businesses, and ultimately, it is about making the world a better place.
Sailing, I have completed close to 5,000 open ocean miles, photography, skiing, kiteboarding, tennis.
I will either find a way, or make one - Hannibal
I have visited over 58 countries and Kenya is still my top destination. The Maasai Mara is magic.
Morning or evening?
Morning. I’ve only used an alarm around 4-5 times in my life for 3 am flights.