Safi Qureshey

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Safi U. Qureshey
Safi Qureshey.JPG
BornFebruary 15, 1951[1]
Alma materUniversity of Karachi, B.Sc Physics
University of Texas, Arlington, Elec. Eng.
OccupationComputer engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist
Known forCo-founder of AST Research, Regents Professor at University of California, Irvine

Safi Urrehman Qureshey is a Pakistani-American entrepreneur. He was the co-founder and CEO of AST Research, Inc., a personal computer manufacturer acquired by Samsung Electronics in 1997. Qureshey is involved with several start-up technology companies as an advisor, board member and seed investor. Qureshey currently serves as regent's professor at the University of California, Irvine's (UCI's) Graduate School of Management, and also actively supports U.C. Irvine's Bonney Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Qureshey graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington in 1975 as a Computer Science Major. In 2000, he created the eponymous "Safi Qureshey Foundation" to provide "a conduit of support for socially and economically underserved children and adults to build better and more secure futures".[2]

Qureshey was named by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to his transition team, to help him put together his new administration.[3] Qureshey is also a former member of President Clinton's Export Council.

Early life and education[edit]

Qureshey was born in Karachi, Pakistan on February 15, 1951.[1] He attended the University of Karachi and received a Bachelor's of Science in Physics. He later came to the United States and attended the University of Texas, Arlington, where he graduated with a BS in electrical engineering after transferring from the physics department.[4]


AST Research[edit]

In 1980, he and two colleagues, Albert Wong and Tom Yuen formed AST Research, in Irvine, California. Qureshey served as the company's CEO. The name AST came from the first letters of their first names.[1] The company originally provided consulting services, moved to building motherboards for IBM computers and eventually started building their own PCs. They shipped their first computer in 1986, and shipped the first sub-$1,000 computer in 1990. Samsung acquired the company in 1997[5] and Qureshey stepped down as CEO.[6]


After leaving AST, Qureshey founded Quartics, an Irvine, CA-based semiconductor startup developing systems-on-a-chip (SoC) for wireless video transmission. The company's products were chips that allowed PCs to transmit content to televisions, and HD video codecs.[7] Qureshey served as the company's CEO until November 2008.[8]

Irvine Ventures[edit]

In 2000, Qureshey launched the Irvine Ventures incubator with a $50M investment. The group works with UCI and other local research institutions to launch new companies.[9]

Government service[edit]

In 2003, Qureshey was named by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to his transition team, to help him put together his new administration.[10] Qureshey was also a member of President Clinton's Export Council, where he traveled to emerging countries with successive Secretaries of Commerce to promote international business.[1]


Qureshey is a Regent's Professor with the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI.[11]


Qureshey holds a number of patents related to web audio broadcasts and playback onto connected devices.[12]


In 2004, the LA Times called Qureshey "one of Southern California's leading Muslim philanthropists".[13] He has worked to use new media and television to fight illiteracy. He founded the Active Learning Initiative Facility (ALIF) in Pakistan, which brought Sesame Street characters to that country to facilitate learning.[1] He also provided funding for the Silicon Valley-based Koshish Foundation, a non-profit corporation focusing on education-related projects, to translate over 1,700 math and basic science videos to Urdu for e-learning company Khan Academy.[14]

He founded the Safi Qureshey Foundation, which supports socially and economically underserved children and adults,[2] and he is a trustee with Give2Asia, a group dedicated to developing a social responsibility and philanthropy presence in Asia.[15] The Qureshey Research Laboratory (QRL) at University of California, Irvine UCI, completed in 1997, was named for his daughter after a large donation from Qureshey.[16]

Qureshey also founded and served as the first President of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Southern California chapter. The group consists of South Asian entrepreneurs and mentors.[9]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1995, UCI awarded Qureshey its highest honor, the UCI medal, for his contributions to the school.[17]

In 1998, Qureshey received the American Muslim Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to work community and humankind, from the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Leonard, Karen (2001). Making It In America: A Sourcebook on Eminent Ethnic Americans. ISBN 9781576070987. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  2. ^ a b The Safi Qureshey Foundation webpage - Background Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Arnold Announces Members Of Transition Committee" Archived 2006-05-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Sound Bytes - Meeting Challenges With Inward-Looking Focus". 1993-01-31. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  5. ^ "Samsung Electronics Plans to Buy the Rest of AST Research". 1997-01-31. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  6. ^ "Safi U. Qureshey". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  7. ^ "Interview with Safi Qureshey, CEO of Quartics". 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  8. ^ "Quartics Snags AMD Exec As CEO". 2008-11-10. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  9. ^ a b "South Asian Entrepreneurs and Mentors Form a Tie That Binds". 2000-07-03. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  10. ^ "Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger's transition committee". 2003-10-10. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  11. ^ "Safi Kureshey: Principal". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  12. ^ "ininventor:"Safi Qureshey"". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  13. ^ "U.S. Muslims Temper Ramadan Giving With Caution". 2004-11-06. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  14. ^ "Pakistani-Americans Fund 1700 Urdu Videos on Khan Academy". 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  15. ^ "Safi Qureshey". Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  16. ^ "UC Irvine Breaks Ground on Neurobiology Building : Education: Work will begin next week on another facility for research of brain aging and disorders". 1995-10-11. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  17. ^ "Previous UCI Medal Recipients". Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  18. ^ "2015: American Muslim Achievement Award" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-05.