George Arison co-founded Shift in 2013, when he saw an opportunity to use technology, machine learning, and operational excellence to create a transformative way for how cars are sold built around an exceptional customer experience.
George is passionate about building companies and technology products because they allow him to prove out his strongly held view that impossible things are actually possible. In addition to Shift, George co-founded Taxi Magic (now known as Curb), which invented the use of mobile devices for on-demand services. He is an investor and mentor to numerous startups and founders, including Zero, Shipper, Carrot, TravelBank, Eden, Fathom, and Pulsar AI. He has twice been named to Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and has worked at Google and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Born in Georgia, a republic in the Soviet Union, at the height of Communism, George came to the United States on his own in 1992, fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend a prep school in Maine. Afterwards, he studied political philosophy at Middlebury College. In addition to entrepreneurship, George has a deep interest in politics and policy-making. He has started a think tank and ran a political campaign in his native Georgia, and authored a book about Georgia’s democratic transition. George lives in Palo Alto with his husband and their children.
Toby Russell co-founded Shift with a passion for building companies that leverage user-centered technology to respond to consumers’ needs. A seasoned startup founder, he co-founded pioneering ride-hailing app Taxi Magic (now known as Curb) in 2007, which invented the use of native mobile applications for on-demand services in one of the first and most popular travel applications in the iPhone ecosystem. As Managing Vice President at Capital One, he led a digital transformation across the company and the industry, including developing new technology to enable retail mobile payments and creating a completely new consumer mobile and desktop banking experience. And during his tenure as Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), he set strategic direction for the world’s leading companies.
In addition to his work in the private sector, Russell has spent time in public service, leading a $12 billion renewable energy and efficiency investment program for the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the largest CleanTech deployment programs in the nation’s history. He also served as the Director of Research on U.S. Senator James Jeffords’ re-election campaign in 2000. Fluent in Russian and Spanish, he holds a Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford, as well as a BA in Political Science, Russian and Economics from Middlebury College. He is the proud father of two girls and enjoys surfing in California, where he lives.