Soviet-born Serguei Beloussov is a serial entrepreneur and current CEO of cybersecurity firm, Acronis. But his journey began almost 25 years earlier when arrived in Singapore in 1995. Beloussov was 22 years old and immersed himself in building his first business – an electronics manufacturing company – and the southeast Asian country provided a perfect base of operations for the young entrepreneur.
The Lion City offered financial assistance that helped the company, Rolsen Electronics, that he co-founded with Iya Zubarev source components from the Asian market. From there, they shipped the parts back to Russia, where they could be assembled into computers and sold.
"The Soviet Union was a country where business was perceived to be a criminal activity, " Beloussov said of his Soviet-to-Singapore start. "[P]eople who… tried to do business in the Soviet Union would go to jail, and so you had a very limited understanding of how to do business."
Beloussov’s company accidentally started developing software in 1996 after he designed an application, called Cassandra, as a side project. The fintech solution evaluated financial derivatives and was built using the latest Microsoft technologies available at the time. Interestingly, it was the second company in the world that used a licensed version of MS Visual Basic for Applications and was what initially drew Microsoft’s attention to them.
“Singapore had… a joint program between the National Computer Board of Singapore… and Microsoft,” he remembered. “When we started, Microsoft noticed us and invited us into the program. The support wasn't huge, but it forced us to come up with a business plan. It made us think about how to go to market, and it connected us to Microsoft."
Solomon Software SEA was born out of that happenstance in 1996 and became a provider of mid-market enterprise resource planning solutions before being acquired by Microsoft. While Rolsen was generating hundreds of millions in revenue, a meeting with Bill Gates opened his eyes to the software side of IT.
"When Bill Gates came to Singapore, Microsoft introduced us, and Bill told us that we had a great architecture. That made us feel very special, and from that point onward, we decided that we wanted to build software."
After his success with these early endeavors, Beloussov founded software development company SWsoft in 2000. The tech firm started out offering server automation and virtualization software, and a year later, Acronis was built out as an internal business unit specializing in storage management systems.
Eventually, Acronis was spun out as a separate company, so there could be a better focus. "By that time, SWsoft was focused on service providers with automation and virtualization products, and Acronis was focused on storage management,” he said.
Developing data protection solutions was a natural next step for Acronis. The cybersecurity suite safeguards all data, applications, and systems using award-winning AI-based active technology, blockchain-based data authentication, and unique hybrid-cloud architecture.
Beloussov holds a Ph.D. in computer science and a master's degree in physics & electrical engineering.