Yuri Milner is a Russian businessman. He is executive of Mail.ru Group.
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Pavel Durov was born in Leningrad on October 10, 1984, in a family with many studies. His father worked in Turin, where he went to elementary school. Upon returning to his hometown, Pavel studied for a short time in a regular school until he entered the experimental classes of the Melnikov Academic Classes, a school with a high demand where he deepened in all subjects, including learning four foreign languages. In that school, the fame of scholars was formed.
Pavel became interested in programming when he was 11 years old. In 2001, he graduated with honors from the Academic Gymnasium.
In 2002, Pavel entered the Faculty of Philology at St. Petersburg State University with a degree in English Philology and Translation. For his academic achievements and his contribution to the student life of the university, he was awarded a scholarship from the Government of the Russian Federation, and then a scholarship from the President of the Russian Federation. In 2006, Durov graduated with honors from the university.
During his studies at St. Petersburg State University, Pavel created nonprofit Internet projects designed to improve the quality of public and scientific life of the university. These projects were the sites Durov.com and Spbgu.ru.
In the summer of 2006, Durov realized that his student sites, despite their popularity, were not effective in bringing students together, as many hid their names under nicknames and real faces under avatars. Students could communicate with each other online, without even suspecting that they were studying in the same group.
Then he started looking for another form for the student's site. Later, an old friend of Pavel, after studying in the United States, presented him with an Internet project for university students in the United States: Facebook, where users published their real names and photos in the profiles. Durov decided to introduce a similar concept of the site in Russia, that is, real people with real names. The original name of the future project, Student.ru, was replaced by Pavel in VKontakte, because, as he said, "sooner or later, we all graduate."
Durov started the project immediately after graduation. Pavel and his brother, Nikolai Durov, founded the limited liability company VKontakte and launched a beta version of the network of the same name, whose domain, vkontakte.ru, was registered, according to official data, on October 1, 2006. At first, the site was closed; in other words, it was possible to register only after a personal invitation. But at the end of the year, registration became free. In a few days, the network attracted more than 2,000 users.
The increasing number of users forced the creators to change servers and improve network software support. Pavel repeatedly received offers on the subject of buying his product but rejected them. Instead, the programmer attracted investors to his project. Already in 2007, it became the third most popular website in Runet, in 2008 there was monetization of the network, and the number of users exceeded 20 million.
In 2007, the newspaper "Business Petersburg" recognized Pavel Durov as one of the winners in the contest "Best Young Entrepreneurs of 2007.
In 2011, Durov, with a fortune of 7.9 billion rubles, ranked 350 in the ranking of Russian billionaires. In December 2011, Pavel and the director of the DST Global fund, Yuri Milner, launched the Start Fellows charity project, which aims to finance new companies selected competitively. At the end of December, six new companies received $ 25,000 each.