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August 22, 2012 10:44 am

Russian Jewish Business Whiz Tops Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies List

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Oleg and Karina Firer. Photo: Flickr via TrumpHollywood.

Topping Inc 5000’s list of the fastest growing companies in the United States, a Russian-Jewish immigrant named Oleg Firer spoke about his determination, his decision to stay away from drugs, and his family, as reasons for his personal and professional success.

“I grew up living in small apartments in Brighton Beach and Coney Island, which are rough neighborhoods,” Firer told Inc. “Growing up there made me stronger. I always set higher expectations for myself than those around me did. Rather than get into drugs or crime, I focused on working hard and learning.”

His company, a payment processing platform known as Unified Payments, has grown at a rate of 23,646.3% in the past 3 years according to Inc., and processes over $10 billion worth of transactions annually.

“I was born in Ukraine. But my family, who is Jewish, decided to flee the Soviet Union,” said Firer.  “My dad was a gym teacher there, and my mother worked for a bank. We had a challenging trip that took us through Austria and Italy before we finally got to Brooklyn.”

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After working at The Wiz and starting his own company, all before turning 20, Firer went into business with a friend when he learned about the prospect of payment-processing.

“I got where I am because I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I always remember where I came from and that I could end up back there with nothing. A few years ago, my wife, who is a refugee from Moldova, our two daughters, and I moved to Miami. My parents, who still live in Brooklyn, are very proud.”

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