Hologram is celebrating Pride Month by highlighting the work of LGBTQ+ members of the IoT, telecommunications, and technology communities.
If Eugene Nadyrshin’s dream comes true, he will one day reside atop the ocean, in a floating society, hopefully with like-minded people - but if not, then with the ability to break apart and latch onto another “seastead” at will.
In the meantime, the 37-year-old entrepreneur remains quite landlocked between San Francisco and London, where he has played a role in founding no fewer than four companies. He’s currently producing masks that use artificial intelligence to individually customize masks for medical professionals. Before that, he built virtual reality gloves.
Talking about artificial intelligence brings him to his happy place. “I think using AI to help us design and fabricate will allow us to build everything from machines to spaceships - on-site,” he says. Think Elon Musk building a rocket on the moon. From Earth.
Nadyrshin was born in Kyrgyzstan. His dad, an entrepreneur, traveled around the world trying different ways to make his way, taking his family with him. Nadyrshin grew up in six countries and now speaks Greek, Russian, and English fluently.
Nadyrshin says he knew he was gay in fourth grade, but it was literally illegal to be gay in many of the places he lived. At age 19, he took a year off from school and traveled to Russia to sell construction materials for his father. He was so surrounded by machismo and testosterone he didn’t dare be openly gay. But he did transform his father’s business by using technology to streamline sales. Before long, he was managing warehouse materials from apps on his smart phone.
He later finished his studies at the University of Manchester, where legendary computer scientist Alan Turing had once worked. Nadyrshin had been inspired by Turing, who, after changing the course of World War II with his code-cracking abilities, was prosecuted for being gay and forced to undergo chemical castration.
“Just the fact that there’s an organization that helps the LGBT community is amazing”
It was after university, while working for Morgan Stanley, that Nadyrshin finally felt secure enough to live as an openly gay man. From Morgan Stanley, he jumped to the tech world, and helped develop an IoT method of air sampling that’s still used to measure air pollution in Europe.
Over the past decade, Nadyrshin has helped start up enough companies that he’s become a bit of a startup expert, and serves as an advisor to the “Startup School” of Y Combinator, a company dedicated to providing seed money to new tech companies.
His current company, called ReMaskD, is geared toward saving lives during the pandemic. A few months ago, Nadyrshin was talking to a surgeon friend who complained about headaches and facial bruising resulting from wearing a mask for eight hours. Nadyrshin started thinking about the possibility of building a mask customized to a user’s face. Within a week he had a prototype: using a handful of selfies, his software can manufacture a personalized silicone interface that can subsequently be used by a 3D printer to create a perfect one-of-a-kind mask. He says the prosthetics industry has show interest in the process, too.
He loves being part of the tech world, and feels grateful to part of the LGBT support group StartOut, which works to increase the impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. “Just the fact that there’s an organization that helps the LGBT community is amazing,” he said.