Serguei is a founder Parallels, where he serves as the chief architect and the executive chairman of the board. Prior to his current positions he also served as the CEO of Parallels. Under Beloussov’s leadership, Parallels grew to profitability and became a market leader in desktop virtualization, OS containers, and control panel offerings. Beloussov holds a B.S. in physics, an M.S. in physics and electrical engineering with high honors, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
Sramana: Serguei, let’s start at the beginning of your story. Where do you come from? What are the beginnings of your entrepreneurial journey?
Serguei Beloussov: I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. At the time it was still the Soviet Union. I attended specialized schools for physics and mathematics in St. Petersburg, which is the second largest city in the country. I participated in a variety of competitions for physics and mathematics for the Soviet Union. I was still going to school when the Soviet Union was about to collapse. In 1998, I was accepted to attend the top physics institute in the country.
The Soviet Union was very centralized, especially just before it collapsed. The top school was the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and required six years to graduate because it was under the Soviet education system. You would earn a bachelors and master’s degree in your first four years, and then you could stay to earn a Ph.D.
During my first four years at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, I studied as was required. During my fourth year I got married for the first time. At that point I started studying very, very aggressively. That was about the time that the Soviet Union was beginning to collapse. Private businesses started to become captivating. Institutions such as the universities were not working very well. In addition, our monetary system was in a very strange state. The currency devalued many times. Naturally, everything was in flux.
At that time many of my friends who had come to study at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology were considering moving abroad to complete their studies. Today many of them are professors at the University of Texas, Stanford, and Harvard, where they teach physics, computer science, and biology. I was in the top 100 at the Institute and I was planning to do the same thing. I was not planning to end up being an entrepreneur.