Max Polyakov


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Max Polyakov
Personal details
Max Polyakov
Поляков Максим Валерійович

(1977-06-30) 30 June 1977 (age 44)
Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine
NationalityUnited Kingdom
EducationOles Honchar Dnipro National University
OccupationBusinessman and philanthropist. Managing Partner of Noosphere Ventures and co-owner of Firefly Aerospace

Max Polyakov (born 30 June 1977) is a global entrepreneur.[1] He is a founder of Firefly Aerospace, Cupid, and Renatus, among other companies.[2][3] Polyakov is a general partner in the venture fund Noosphere Ventures Partners LP.[4]


Maxym "Max" Polyakov was born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. His parents were engineers at JSC Khartron" (Hartron), a Ukrainian rocket and space enterprise engaged in the development of control systems and electronics.[5]

In 2011, Polyakov graduated from the Dnipro Polytechnic University.[6]

In 2013, Polyakov was awarded a Ph.D. in International Economics and in 2019, earned a Doctor of Economic Sciences.[7]


Polyakov co-founded the IDE Group which included the companies Cupid, Murka, HitDynamics and Maxymiser in 2005.[8][9][10][11][12] Polyakov took Cupid public on the London Stock Exchange in 2010.[13][14] In 2015, Polyakov’s startup Maxymiser was bought by the American corporation Oracle.[15][16] Blackstone bought out Murka project group in 2019.[17][18][19][20][21]

Noosphere Ventures

In 2014, Polyakov founded Noosphere Ventures, an international asset management firm dedicated to the development of space technology.[22] The same year, Polyakov created Noosphere Engineering School (NES).[23] Noosphere Ventures hosted the 2016 FAI World Championships for Space Models in Ukraine.[24] On June 7, 2021, Noorsphere Ventures co-sponsored the 11th Annual Space Foundation Student Art Contest.[25]

EOS DATA Analytics

In 2015, Polyakov's Noosphere Ventures created EOS DATA Analytics, a company for processing and analyzing satellite data.[26] Four years later, EOS implemented the World Bank partnered with the EU to launch a project on satellite-based monitoring of agricultural land use.[27][28] EOS DATA Analytics also partnered with the €10 million Goldeneye Project will run real time monitoring of five mines in Europe (Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Kosovo and Romania) to improve safety, environmental impact, and mine profitability by creating a platform that combines Earth observation technologies with on-site sensing.[29]

Firefly Aerospace

Polykov's Noosphere Ventures acquired assets of Firefly Space Systems and later launched a new company keeping the original Firefly brand in 2017.[30][1][31] By May 2018, a Firefly research and development center was opened in Polyakov's hometown of Dnipro.[32] In November of the same year, Firefly Aerospace entered the list of companies selected by NASA for its lunar exploration program with a total budget of $2.6 billion.[33][34][35]

In 2019, the U.S. Air Force selected Firefly to participate in the Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) along with Rocketdyne.[36][37][38] In 2021, NASA awarded Firefly a $93.3 million to deliver a suite of 10 science investigations and technology demonstrations to the Moon in 2023.[39] Firefly The team successfully performed pre-flight of their alpha rocket in September 2020.[40][41] On May 4, 2021, CBInsights listed Firefly Aerospace as a 'unicorn' startup having achieved $1 billion valuation.[42]

On September 3, 2021, a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle Firefly Alpha exploded a few minutes after launch from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Firefly Aerospace has raised $75 million to prepare for this launch.[43]

Dragonfly Aerospace

In April 2021, Max Polyakov bought majority stake in Dragonfly Aerospace, a South African satellite engineering company.[44][45]

Allegations and controversies

Polyakov has faced doubt of being trusted with American intellectual property, criticism for his unproven ability to deliver on his business promises, and allegations of creating dating sites that have been called a scam.[citation needed]

According to a Bloomberg news article, Polyakov’s own staff don’t fully trust that he will protect American intellectual property.[1]

He envisioned marrying American technology with Ukraine’s space engineering workforce, but Ukraine is plagued by organized crime and allegations of espionage. Many space officials have criticized Polyakov as a “dodgy foreigner with no real chance in the new space race,” according to Bloomberg. He’s been contrasted with Elon Musk, who of the two men is the only one who has shown he can build a viable space business.[1]

Polyakov's past business ventures include dating sites “dogged by allegations of scamminess.”[1] He has dismissed such concerns as “xenophobia,” Bloomberg wrote. However, customers and third-party investigators have said that the dating sites he created lured subscribers with “phony profiles of attractive users,” and then made it very difficult to cancel auto-renewing paid subscriptions. And some of his dating sites, such as "Shag Together", are considered less than tasteful.[1]

Numerous journalistic investigations, in particular, a two-year study of the fact-project "Snopes",[46][47] show that before working in the space industry, Max Polyakov fraudulently earned on the market of dating sites.[48] The connection between Polyakov and a number of dating sites was revealed through the company "Cupid plc", which was investigated by the BBC and Kyiv Post.[49][50]

After the publication of materials about the investigation into Max Polyakov,[51] the website of the Ukrainian news agency "Bukvy" was attacked by DDoS from the IP-addresses of Brazil.[52][53]

Private life

Polyakov moved to Silicon Valley where he co-founded the venture capital fund Noosphere Venture Partners in 2012.[54] In 2016, Polyakov created the non-profit public government organization Noosphere Association, which is engaged in the organization and holding of specialized scientific and technical events. Among the most famous events are the BestRoboFest robotics festival and the Noosphere Vernadsky Challenge engineering startup competition.[55][56][57] In 2021, Polyakov moved to Edinburgh, Scotland.


Max Polyakov is married with four children.[58]


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