- Leonid Radvinsky bought OnlyFans, an adult-content platform, in 2018 for an undisclosed sum.
- He’s amassed an estimated $1.2 billion fortune from webcam-porn and adult sites.
- Radvinsky has earned more than $500 million from OnlyFans since 2020.
Leonid Radvinsky is far from a household name. The Ukrainian-American businessman has long operated in the shadows of the porn industry, but edged into the spotlight in 2018 when he bought OnlyFans.
Tim Stokely founded the subscription-based adult-content platform was founded in the UK in 2016 before Radvinsky took control.
It appears to have proved a lucrative investment. OnlyFans grew exponentially during the pandemic, with its user base more than doubling to 188 million last year, the platform’s annual report said. The platform takes a 20% cut of creators’ revenues, and Radvinsky has raked in more than $500 million since 2020.
OnlyFans is not his first foray into the world of adult content. After emigrating with his family from Ukraine to Chicago, he set up a company called Cybertania at the age of 17. It ran a number of websites in the early 2000s that marketed “hacked” and “illegal” passwords to porn sites, Forbes reported last year.
Password Universe, one of the websites, included a link to a site that advertised more than 10,000 “illegal pre-teen passwords” in 2000. Another, Ultra Passwords, claimed to link to “the hottest bestiality site on the web,” according to Forbes.
There wasn’t any evidence suggesting the sites actually linked to illegal content, per Forbes, but it seemed to be a way to generate income from the affiliate links when users clicked on them.
Radvinsky’s next venture came in 2002 when he set up MyFreeCams, a porn site that featured “models” who got naked and offered sexual performances on webcams. By 2010, his site had more than 100,000 models and more than five million members, according to the adult-industry news site XBiz.
Radvinsky, 40, graduated from Northwestern University in 2002 with a degree in economics and continued to build his empire by snapping up other porn-related domain names, such as ultraxxxpasswords.com.
Ultra Passwords, which trademark-filing records show was described as an online “bulletin board” of passwords for adult sites, pulled in $1.8 million a year in revenue in the 2000s, reported Forensic News, an investigative-journalism site.
Radvinsky continued to buy more porn-related domain names. He owned at least 950, including URLs such as sexhackers.com and camwhores.com until 2014, domain-name records show.
As of April, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $1.2 billion, with assets including a mansion in Florida and a penthouse apartment in Chicago.
Little is known about Radvinsky’s personal life or activities apart from what he has disclosed on his personal website, though it shows he has fingers in many pies. He supports open-source software platforms and is an active philanthropist and angel investor.
Radvinsky donated $5 million to Ukraine relief efforts earlier this year, as well as gave funds to a cancer charity, an animal-welfare organization, and a skin-disorder-research fund.
He has invested in the Israeli software developer B4X, and backed the social-network-software creator Pleroma. Through his venture-capital fund, Leo, Radvinsky offers investments of up to $1 million to company founders.
Radvinsky also wants to become a helicopter pilot. He’s notched 95 flight hours and is part of a team that runs a helicopter facility called Vertiport in downtown Chicago.
Meanwhile, he’s aiming to become rich enough to “one day be in a position to sign The Giving Pledge,” according to his website. The list of super-rich people who have promised to donate most of their fortunes to charitable ventures includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and MacKenzie Scott.
These lofty heights are all some distance from the world of adult entertainment, which has given Radvinsky a few legal headaches over the years.
Microsoft sued his first company, Cybertania, in 2004 for allegedly sending “millions” of illegal and deceptive emails to users of Hotmail, its email service. The lawsuit claimed emails were “falsely labeled” as being sent by Amazon, but Forbes reported that Radvinsky denied all the allegations and said that the case was settled out of court.
Another lawsuit filed by OnlyFans creators against Radvinsky and Meta in February claimed that he and OnlyFans bribed executives at Meta to blacklist content creators who worked with rivals and put them on an international database, BBC News reported. A spokesperson told the BBC at the time that the claims had no merit, and Meta also denied the allegations.
Lawyers representing OnlyFans filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in October arguing that it lacked a “reasonable evidentiary basis” as it relied upon anonymous sources and emails. The case is ongoing.
OnlyFans declined to comment when contacted by Insider.