|Robert J. Pera|
Robert J. Pera
|Born||March 10, 1978|
|Alma mater||University of California, San Diego|
|Occupation||CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, Owner of Memphis Grizzlies|
|Net worth||$US 2.2 Billion|
Robert J. Pera (born March 10, 1978) is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. a communications technology company based in Silicon Valley that Pera took public in 2011. In October 2012, Pera also became the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, when he purchased the National Basketball Association franchise from Michael Heisley. At the age of 36, Pera has a spot on Forbes’ list of 10 youngest billionaires in the world.
Early life and education
Pera was raised in Silicon Valley and he established his first computer services company while attending high school. That company provided networking and database services to local businesses. Pera also played on his high school’s basketball team until a heart condition, which has long since resolved, kept him home for a year. After high school, Pera attended the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Japanese Language. He stayed on at the University of California, San Diego and completed his masters in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on Digital Communications and Circuit Design.
After graduation, Pera, who admired Steve Jobs, secured a job at Apple Inc., where he tested the company’s Wi-Fi devices to ensure compliance with Federal Communications Commission standards for electromagnetic emissions. While working at Apple, Pera noticed that the power sources Apple's WiFi devices used to throw signals were far below FCC limits. Boosting their power, he reasoned, could increase their transmission range to over dozens of miles, which could facilitate Internet access in areas that telephone and cable companies don’t reach. When his bosses at Apple Inc. ignored his idea, Pera decided to build his own low-cost, high performance WiFi module. For the next year, Pera spent his nights and weekends in his apartment testing prototypes. By early 2005 he was ready to start his own business and he left Apple Inc. to form Ubiquiti Networks.
Pera founded Ubiquiti Networks in March 2005 using only $30,000 of personal savings and credit card debt. Ubiquiti’s early products utilized existing WiFi technology to wirelessly deliver the Internet to underserved areas (e.g., rural areas and emerging markets) lacking the infrastructure to access the Internet through traditional avenues such as phone lines and cable lines. The company has since successfully branched out into other product lines such as wireless access points, security cameras and traditional networking equipment (e.g., switches and routers).
On June 11, 2012, sources told ESPN.com that Michael Heisley had an agreement in principle to sell the Memphis Grizzlies to Robert Pera. The official sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to Pera was approved on October 25, 2012. Building on the successes of his predecessor, Michael Heisley, Pera has made significant investments into the Grizzlies, bolstering its business and basketball operations teams and transforming the Grizzlies into a world class organization. Under Pera’s stewardship, the Grizzlies have experienced unprecedented success, including a club-record 56-win season and the club’s first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. The Grizzlies have also won more playoff games during Pera’s two-year tenure than during the 17 seasons prior.
Pera has also stayed true to his commitment to “make a positive and meaningful difference in the community,” becoming a strong supporter of the Grizzlies Foundation. Understanding the power of sport to transform lives, particularly those of children at risk, the Grizzlies Foundation has invested significantly in: increasing the number of high school graduates prepared for success in college and the workforce; enabling positive adult mentors to engage in youth mentoring and development; and, ensuring that all Memphians have access to healthy exercise spaces. In 2013, the Grizzlies became the first professional sports team to receive the prestigious President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Award in recognition of exemplary service to the broader community. Pera has also leveraged the core competency of Ubiquiti Networks to enable high-speed wireless access in underserved Memphis areas like Binghampton and The Heights.
Pera’s personal interests include pickup basketball, Twitter Q&As, cross-fit training and his personal blog (http://www.rjpblog.com).
- Stein, Marc (11 June 2012). "Sources: Deal for Grizzlies reached". ESPN.com.
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- Hipp, Bennett. "Grizzlies Foundation works to provide greater impact for Memphis youth". NBA.com.