About Alexander Chikunov
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and humanitarian
Alexander was born and raised in the USSR. In 1985 he received a degree in Economics from Novosibirsk State University (NSU). For the next five years, he worked as a researcher at the Economic Institute and as a NSU lecturer.
In 1992, after the Soviet Union collapse, Alexander founded a stock-brokerage company called Research. Investments. Finance in Novosibirsk. In 1994, he became a member of the first board of directors for the Russian Trading System – similar to NASDAQ system in the U.S. During privatization, he participated in the reorganization of all business processes of many formerly government-owned enterprises – from the river-shipping and aviation industry to the manufacturers of heavy machinery. He taught the leaders of companies how to do market research, prepare business plans, conduct mergers and acquisitions, organize IPOs, and all the other activities a company needs for transition from being government-run to market-oriented.
By the beginning of 2000, the Russian stock market was organized, and enterprises were mostly privatized. At that time, the entire electricity sector was in the process of reform. Looking for new opportunities, Alexander began working for the largest electricity and heat company in Russia, the Unified Energy System (UES). The UES controlled 90% of the electricity assets in the country.
From 2005 until the end of the reform in 2008, Alexander worked as the Executive Director of the UES and managed the companies with over 200,000 employees and annual sales of $20 billion. Under his management, 14 SPOs (secondary public offerings) for the new companies were organized, and $14 billion in private investments were raised. He also worked on creating an extensive plan to construct new power plants that would reinforce the existing infrastructure that had not been expanded in almost 40 years.
In 2008 the energy reform was completed. At that time, Alexander had a profound realization. He realized that he needed to find his own way to make a positive contribution to the world and to make the future of humanity better. Exploring different fields and ideas, he found the most interesting direction is to understand mechanisms of aging and life extension, because of the belief that slowing down the process of aging can bring enormous benefits to all people, much more than finding treatments for diseases. Alexander made up his mind to finance only those ideas that can potentially discover mechanisms of aging and/or life extension.
During this work, Alexander saw that there are great scientists with great ideas who can bring breakthroughs in medicine and aging research. Often they can't find grants or venture capital because these ideas are very unusual and very early-stage. In 2009 he started to finance four scientific hypotheses: a mitochondrial antioxidant, a genomics, a post-telomere, and a pharmacological approach.
In mid-2013, a four-year experiment on long-lived mice ended in the United States, and it became clear that unique results had been obtained. At the end of 2013, Alexander moved to Princeton, NJ, to develop this research.