Country of origin: Russia
Year came to U.S.: 1979
Education: BS Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Maryland; MS Computer Science, Stanford University
Business: Alphabet (Google) (1998)
Headquarters: Mountain View, CA
2019 revenue: $161.9 billion
Worldwide employment: 118,899
Ranked 11 in the 2020 Fortune 500
In 2018, Forbes named Sergey Brin the 35th most powerful person in the world.
Google’s impact on society has been compared to the invention of the printing press.
As a boy, Sergey Brin left the former U.S.S.R. with his family to escape institutional anti-Semitism. He went on to have his own profound effect on the world through Google, Inc.
In 1979, at the age of six, Brin, his parents and brother immigrated to the United States. They were among the last Jews allowed to leave the U.S.S.R. until the Gorbachev era. His father became a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, and his mother became a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Growing up in a household that placed so much emphasis on education, it’s not surprising that Brin received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation that took him to Stanford University. There, he met Larry Page and they became fast friends. Their interest in data mining systems and the early stages of the Internet led them to develop the technology for the Google search engine. It was a revolution in how online information search was done. Brin and Page could not find any companies interested in buying their technology. Therefore, they left school to start their own business.
In 1998, the internet search engine Google was born with an investment of $100,000 by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim. Today, the company is not only the world’s leading search engine, it offers dozens of products and services in scores of languages. Its impact on information sharing has been compared to that of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the modern printing press.
To reflect the company’s breadth and the founders’ desire to “Get more ambitious things done,” Google, Inc. was re-named Alphabet in 2015. In 2018, Brin was named the 35th most powerful person and 13th richest person in the world by Forbes. He served as the President with Google, Alphabet’s most famous subsidiary, before he stepped down in 2019.
His mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and Brin discovered he and his mother both possess a mutation of the LRRK2 gene (G2019S), which increases his risk for the disease. In 2014, he and his wife donated $53 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation as part of the Brin-Wojcicki challenge to fight Parkinson’s disease. In 2017, he spoke out publicly against policies banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, citing his family’s background as refugees. In 2019, he announced that he would step back from his role as Alphabet president.