SEMYON DUKACH, RUSSIA
Born in Moscow, Semyon Dukach moved to the US in 1979 at the age of 11. His first claim to fame came as a player on the MIT Blackjack team whose exploits were chronicled in the famous book Busting Vegas and the movie “21.” These days, Semyon Dukach makes his living as an angel investor, working on a new project, One Way Ventures — a venture capital fund specifically for immigrant founders.
“Our investment strategy at One Way Ventures is to only back technology founders who are immigrants themselves, who have had that experience of immigration because the immigration experience itself is an entrepreneurial experience – immigrants only go one way. They don't really have a choice of going back."
“We were part of a wave of Jewish immigrants. My father's father was actually executed. So, it was a real intense level of adversity. But for me, I would say just the sheer propaganda, being asked how many books you have about Lenin in your house and being mocked in front of the class for not having enough.”
“I remember arriving at JFK Airport in New York. I remember being driven to New Jersey on a long bus ride where my father managed to communicate using mostly hand gestures for the driver. I distinctly remember the first stop, where we got some burgers, and the extreme fear and shock on my father's face when he went in there with a $10 bill and got burgers for the four of us and came out with some change, because I think he had $100 total."