Ruslan Kogan has come from extremely humble beginnings to become one of Australia's most successful entrepreneurs.
Background: His parents came to Australia with $90 in their pockets. They worked multiple jobs each just to makes ends meet, while also studying English and raising their children, just to give Ruslan and his sister a chance at a better life. Growing up in this environment, he learnt very quickly that if he wanted anything, he would have to work hard for it.
Early Lessons: He was interested in technology at an early age, building his first computer at the age of nine. Living in the Elsternwick housing commission flats in the suburbs of Melbourne, he started working for himself when he was just nine. He would find lost golf goals, clean them, repackage them in egg cartons, and sell them to golfers at Elsternwick Golf Course on weekends. He showed his entrepreneurial flair in teenage years with a string of businesses including a car wash operation, mobile phone repair business, and a web design agency. He has started over 20 businesses since the age of 10.
Education: He attended Melbourne High School where he completed his VCE and finished top of the state in Information Processing & Management and then received a Scholarship to complete a Bachelor of Business Systems (Information Technology) at Monash University. By the age of 23 Ruslan had worked at the IT departments of Bosch, GE, Telstra, and was a management consultant at Accenture. Disappointed that he couldn't personally afford the latest technology, despite his well paying job, he saw a gap in the market. He realised that the big retailers were operating on very high margins, and there was an opportunity for a better value, direct, new style of retail business.
KOgan: Despite everyone telling him he was crazy, Ruslan started Kogan in his parent's garage, with a new brand of televisions. Kogan.com has rapidly grown to become the go-to store for the best prices on a wide range of consumer goods - electronics, homewares, lifestyle, beauty, furniture, fitness, toys, travel, tools, appliances, and more. In recent years, the range has expanded from several hundred to tens of thousands of products.
Kogan.com has gone on to grow it into a multinational consumer electronics and online retail business with millions of happy customers. In eight years, the company has gone from garage to global, become the most efficient retailer in the world. It now has offices in Australia, China, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
Kogan.com is a challenger brand in some of the most competitive industries in the world. Its direct-to-consumer, online only business model means it can undercut the biggest retailers. The low margin, high volume approach has seen Kogan.com become the biggest online retailer in Australia.
Author: He has been invited as a guest author for several leading publications, including Gizmodo, Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Business Insider, VentureBeat, and News Ltd. Ruslan was asked to join the LinkedIn Influencer program, alongside the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
Donation: Ruslan has donated thousands of hours of his time to try help inspire and inform future generations by accepting invites to speak at schools, universities, business conferences, community and youth organisations. He loves sharing his experience and insight with budding entrepreneurs around the world.
Awards: He has won a number of awards:
• Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Southern Region Winner
• Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2012, 2013
• Top 50 Most Influential People in Tech by The Australian. Joins Mark Zuckerberg and Mike Cannon-Brookes as the only Gen Ys on the list
• BRW Young Rich List 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
• BRW Fast Starters List 2009, 2010,
• BRW Fast 100 2010, 2011, 2012
• BRW Rich List 2014
• The Age Top 100 most influential people in 2008, 2011
• Men's Style Magazine 2012 Men of Influence
• The Australian Top 5 Young Chief Executives
• T3 29th most influential person in the technology industry
• Virgin Australia Top Guns in Tech
• Australian Retail Association Retail Innovator of the Year 2010
• Anthill Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs for 2010
• SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30 CEOs