To sports fans, Robert J. Pera is best known for being the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, an NBA pro basketball team that he purchased from Michael Heisley, but for those who have worked with him in the business world, this is just one of his many sideline ventures. He’s an interesting guy who happens to have built an empire in the business world. For those who are not familiar with Mr. Pera outside of the sport, or who are not aware of his significant accomplishments, here are 10 things that you probably didn’t know about him.
1. He founded his own company
Robert Pera is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. He established the company in 2003. Pera has been at the helm of the company since it was first open for business in 2003. He serves not only as the controlling owner, but also as the Chief Executive Officer. He built this business from the ground up and it has become a very successful venture for him.
2. Pera started his business on a shoe string
When Robert Pera first developed his Ubiquiti Networks company, he didn’t have a lot of start up money. He didn’t have a lot of financial backing from others either. He took $30,000 of his own money such as his personal savings, and he also used his credit cards to come up with the money that was necessary to get his new business off of the ground. It was a gamble that just happened to pay off for him.
3. He’s a brilliant engineer
Mr. Pera was successful in establishing a wireless company because of his expertise in technological and operational systems within the wireless industry. Prior to establishing his own business, he worked for Apple, Inc. He was a wireless engineer for a little over two years with the company. He quit his job with Apple to go out on his own and become a competitor in that sector of the business.
4. He found issues at Apple but they ignored his recommendations
While working at Apple, Robert was charged with testing the WiFi devices to make sure that they were in compliance with the FCC’s electromagnetic emissions regulations. He found an issue while testing them. The signals which were thrown by the Wi Fi devices were far below the limits of the FCC and Apple could have easily increased the power of the signals and gotten more distance efficiency out of them. He shared the information with Apple, but they chose to do nothing about it. This gave him an idea for doing it himself. He developed his own prototypes in his spare time and this is how his company Ubiquiti Networks was formed.
5. He has two degrees
Mr. Pera went to college to learn more about the field of electrical engineering. He enrolled in an electrical engineering at the University of California in San Diego. He graduated with his bachelor’s of Science degree, then continued on. He also earned his master’s of science degree from the same university in electrical engineering with a focus upon digital communications and RF circuit design.
6. He also knows Japanese
At the same time that Robert Pera was fulfilling is college requirements to become an electrical engineer, he earned a third degree. He also studied the Japanese language. He holds a bachelor’s of arts in Japanese. He graduated Phi Beta Cappa.
7. His business plan was brilliant
How many times have you heard people who live in rural areas complain that they can’t get wireless service where they live? Mr. Pera was well aware of the fact that there were people in rural areas of the country who couldn’t get service, so one of the focuses of his company was to deliver wireless internet though his more long range technology, to the areas which are largely under-served. He branched his network out through non-traditional methods to bring internet to people who previously couldn’t acquire the service and this is one of the differences between his company and the others that has helped him to become so wildly successful.
8. Has a Net Worth of $7.2 billion
Using meager savings and credit cards, Robert Pera built Ubiquiti Networks up to a huge wireless internet provider. The company has made him a very rich man. The revenues for 2017 alone were $865 million. The firm went pubic in 2011 and it was a major source of wealth for Robert, but he also made other investments that served him well in building a huge asset base. His current net worth as of May 2019, is estimated to be $7.2 billion, making him the richest executive in the tech industry at the age of 41, according to Forbes.
9. His parents were also executives
Robert Pera comes by his sense of business savvy honestly. Both of his parents are also successful executives in the business world. His father is a business consultant who is also the chief executive officer of Armanino Foods and his mother worked as a public relations executive.
10. He’s passionate about the success of the Grizzlies
In 2018, Robert Pera made a big move to gain more controlling interest of the NBA team the Memphis Grizzlies. He enacted a clause in the 2012 contract that he signed when the team was purchased that he could buy out the other shareholders or sell to them. He decided to buy them out and increase his ownership percentage to 75 percent. Pera shared that it was his goal to “build a successful NBA franchise.”