CO-FOUNDER & CEO. PRODUCT STRATEGIST. VISIONARY LEADER
Yuri Gurski is Founding Partner and CEO of Palta, and his vision and drive extend across the entire portfolio of companies. Yuri has been building global tech and media businesses for many years as an executive, entrepreneur, investor and start-up mentor.
Yury is also the co-founder and President of Flo Inc., the world's most popular female health app with over 137 million users. Other successful ventures have been acquired by Google (AIMATTER, a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images in real-time, 2017), Facebook (MSQRD live selfie video filtering, 2016), Russian internet giant Mail.Ru (maps.me navigation services, 2014, and the world's largest online gaming firm Playtech (mobile fitness pioneer sport.com, 2013).
Yuri holds an eMBA from Kozminski University and has been repeatedly named Entrepreneur of the Year and Start-up Mentor of the Year in Belarus.
1. What inspired the name Palta?
Well, I like avocados! One day I was sitting in a cafe in Peru where the word avocado was written in different languages all over the wall. I noticed the Spanish name 'palta' and for some reason it stuck in my head so I thought, Why not?
2. Why did you choose to shift from a traditional VC to a co-founding company?
We have all been different things at different times throughout our careers: we've worked for corporations, we've been entrepreneurs and founded ventures, and we've been investors. We understand what it means to be a founder and how much you want to concentrate on your products, while at the same time having to raise funds, build a strong team, solve numerous legal issues etc.
So we wanted to help great co-founders focus on their main areas of expertise by using our experience to take care of the rest. Unlike an employee or a start-up factory resident, our co-founders still enjoy great upside but with far less risk.
3. What are your criteria when looking for a co-founder?
Founders are exactly that - people upon whom a company is founded. So we look for strength of character, not just in professional terms but also mentally and even physically too. After all, the journey to unicorn status is a marathon with all kinds of unpredictable twists and turns. We also believe that values matter. The right values are intrinsically motivating to a founder and inspiring to those around them. So we also look for people who really care about what they do and the impact they are going to make.
4. What is the most important aspect about Palta?
I guess I'd emphasize the fact that we really do care about making a positive impact in the world. That is why we list companies such as Flo and or Simple in our family - apps that are truly making a difference to millions of people. We're not interested in free-to-play games or things of that nature, but instead want to work on products that matter. We even have a goal to make a positive impact on the lives of one billion people.
5. How many avocados do you eat every week?
A lot, believe me!