Technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, despite stagnation in the economy. At the forefront of these advancements are big-name investors and innovators like Keith Rabois, Jeff Bezos, Marissa Mayer, and Ron Conway. One of the most prominent of those investors is Shervin Pishevar, a mogul among his peers.
Pishevar is a super angel, a more prestigious term for a prolific and sophisticated angel investor. Angel investors fund early-stage companies and provide support to concepts that they believe will have large growth and impact. Super angels like Pishevar hold impressive reputations and are typically considered well connected.
How does someone like Pishevar become so aware of the economic and technological landscape? How does he turn that knowledge into investments with incredibly high returns? To understand Pishevar’s success, we must take a look at his history and the experience he has gained throughout his career.
Who Is Pishevar?
Pishevar was born in Iran in 1974 and moved with his family to the United States in 1979 after his father, Abraham Pishevar, was placed on an execution list in their home country. Abraham Pishevar received a Ph.D. in mass communication and encouraged his son to become a doctor. It was during his studies, when he was just 19 years old, that Pishevar created a method for destroying malaria-infected blood cells. He also co-authored an article that later became the Istanbul Protocol, international guidelines that the U.N. uses to document torture.
Young Shervin Pishevar left the medical field in his early 20s and, in 1997, became an entrepreneur. Over the nearly 25 years of his entrepreneurial and investment career, Pishevar has made some miraculous achievements. It’s likely that you’ve heard of him for one reason or another. He is well-known not just for the companies he’s been a part of but also for his predictions on the economy, investments in startup businesses, and advancements in technology. Pishevar is a widely followed venture capitalist, investor, inventor, and social media headliner. His successes include investments in Uber and Airbnb and the founding of Virgin Hyperloop One.
As of the start of 2019, Pishevar’s recorded net worth was more than $65 million. Companies that he has founded or joined often manage hundreds of millions of dollars and have an aggregate of more than 100 million users.
Pishevar and Silicon Valley
During his time at Montgomery Blair High School and UC Berkeley, Pishevar was voted onto the Montgomery Board of Education and later became editor in chief of Berkeley’s undergraduate research journal. Between his leave from medical studies and his dive into entrepreneurialism, he spent more than a year studying health economics, a perfect segue from the medical field to the field of economics, where he would later gain fame and fortune.
Before the new millennium, Pishevar created a web-based operating system called WebOS. The system created a cross-browser operating system user interface for the internet and was the first of its kind.
Pishevar’s Early Career
When WebOS was dissolved in 2001 following the dotcom crash, Pishevar and a co-founder kept the software. This eventually lead to the creation of HyperOffice. HyperOffice functions in much the same way as Microsoft’s Office Suite; features include email, contact and task management, calendars, polls, instant messaging, and time and expense applications.
Just after his parting from WebOS, Pishevar co-founded Seges Capital, a branch of Vanderbilt University Technology Company specializing in venture, and Ionside Interactive. During this time, Pishevar seeded investments in 17 startup companies.
From 2005 Onward
With a great start in the investment world, Pishevar quickly moved on from simply testing the waters. He quickly went on to be named COO of Webs Inc., one of the largest social publishing communities of its time. In 2008, Pishevar left Webs Inc. to join Social Gaming Network (SGN), which would later become Jam City. The company specializes in interactive, social game applications used on sites like Myspace and Facebook.
Later, Pishevar became the chief application officer and GM of Mozilla Corporation, during which he spread his angel investor wings and seeded companies like Cherry, Klout, Dollar Shave Club, and Socialcam.
In 2011, Pishevar joined Menlo Ventures as the managing director and oversaw the venture capital firm’s $4 billion funds. Through Menlo Ventures, Pishevar invested in Uber and Tumblr. He also helped seed 35 other companies through the firm.
The latest and greatest of a grand technological dream is the invention of the hyperloop. A hyperloop is a form of high-speed passenger transit similar to an underground rail. What makes a hyperloop different is that it runs above ground in a near-vacuum tube. Pods accelerate through the vacuum at more than 600 miles per hour (potentially as fast as 750 mph), cutting the travel time from point A to point B exponentially. A trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could theoretically take half an hour, as opposed to more than six hours by car.
While on a flight to Cuba for a humanitarian mission, Pishevar and Elon Musk discussed the SpaceX and Tesla founder’s idea of a modern hyperloop. The open-source white paper published in 2013 became the ground on which Hyperloop One was formed.
Co-founders of HyperloopOne Pishevar and Josh Giegel, along with a team of engineers, designed the futuristic mode of transportation. Its first true test runs in 2017 saw speeds of 190 mph. This speed was cut simply because of the short length of track that the pod had to run on. With a much longer system, the hyperloop tram is expected to run smoothly at its predicted 700+ mph speed. Richard Branson invested and it became Virgin HyperloopOne, with Branson also stepping in as Chairman at that time.
Due to regulations in the United States, it’s uncertain when or if hyperloop will become available to the U.S. public. Currently, Virgin Hyperloop One is focusing on projects in areas around Dubai.
Pishevar’s Current Investments
One of Pishevar’s strongest traits is his ability to recognize valuable startups in their early stages. Among these companies are Dollar Shave Club, Slack, Robinhood, Didi, Wag, Warby Parker, and Fair. Each of these companies shows continued profit growth. Many of them disrupt their respective industries, changing the way cities and people operate.
Some of his most popular investments, however, are Uber, Airbnb, and Postmates. These companies also seem to be some of the most successful.
Although Uber faces many financial challenges because of regulation and competition, the company has maintained slow and steady growth throughout the years. With additions to the brand, such as UberEats, the company expects $4 billion in revenue this year. Uber is also, in collaboration with Alphabet Inc., investing in electric scooter company Lime, which, since its founding in 2017, has raised over $460 million.
The home-sharing startup has exploded in the decade since it was founded. As of 2018, Airbnb has more listings than the top five hotel chains combined and is valued at at least $38 billion. Airbnb is a true investment unicorn, surpassing the $1 billion value needed to earn the name. The company enjoys growth rates of over 100 percent each year and shows no sign of slowing down. Some speculation pits Airbnb as a potential super unicorn, or a company with a potential value of $100 billion.
As co-founder of Postmates, Bastian Lehmann refers to his company as “the first on-demand anything marketplace in the country.” His goes on to state that Postmates’s gross profits have averaged 250 percent since 2014. Another unicorn investment, Postmates generated $1.2 billion in 2017 and continues to grow at exceptional rates.
Patents Pending: Pishevar’s Licences
Over the many years of his work, Pishevar has acquired a number of patents, although sources differ on the number that he truly has. One fact remains: Pishevar’s patents are a signal of his dedication and interest in the advancement of technology.
Improving Application Performance Across a Communications Network
This patent outlines a managing system for computer applications and systems by positioning them in strategic locations to increase performance across a communication network. Problems of bandwidth, traffic, and speed would be solved with clever resource allocation.
Method for Providing a Web-Based Operating System
In conjunction with the previous patent, the web-based operating system patent creates a method meant to solve some of the problems brought by conventional computer systems, namely by providing an operating system that functions on a network that can execute applications through the web.
Collective Procurement Management System
The system outlined in this patent allows multiple potential customers to submit orders for items or services on an ongoing basis. These orders of duplicate items between multiple purchasers would be grouped together, allowing the buyers to obtain discount bulk pricing together. Once all similar orders reach a certain threshold, the order is fulfilled.
Electric Modules for Jewelry
The latest patent filed by Pishevar is a design for jewelry with electric modules. The design is similar to that of wireless earbuds, with a strap around the neck made of modular input and output beads. These beads can be rearranged and communicate not just with one another but with external paired devices as well.
Activism and Philanthropy
Pishevar has been, and continues to be, a charitable man through many means. Thanks to his many successful years in entrepreneurship and venture capitalism, Pishevar donates and works with organizations such as Charity:water, Build.org, Invisible Children, and UNICEF. He’s been an advisor for the Malala Fund to help educate women and girls around the world, specifically in countries such as Afghanistan, Turkey, and Nigeria. He also launched 1% of Nothing, a project to encourage other entrepreneurs to donate one percent of their value to charity.
Recently, the investment mogul started the Twitter tag #howcanihelpyou. The tag comes from the question “How can I help you?” Pishevar details his aim for the tag in a tweet, stating that “if we all ask ‘How Can I Help You?,’ we will start a wave of goodness that spreads everywhere. I will try to help solve any problems people have because it’s a good thing to do. How can I help YOU?” Pishevar encourages followers to send him a message if they need help with anything, claiming that he’ll do whatever he can. Following this, many leaders on Twitter have used the same tag and encouraged their own followers to seek assistance.
As an immigrant from the Middle East, Pishevar has been outspoken about the struggle and needs of countries outside of the United States. He has traveled to Egypt to see protests and Cuba on humanitarian efforts. Many of the charities to which he donates work in war-torn countries, as well as those with crippled economies and infrastructure.
Pishevar is a man of many successes, an immigrant who quickly made a solid name for himself in the United States. Because of his history and occupational prowess, he has been awarded multiple honors. In 2011, Pishevar became one of 10 members of the United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council and served as an ambassador on several delegations in the Middle East and Russia. President Obama’s Summit of Entrepreneurship featured him as a keynote speaker. He was also appointed by Obama to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. As a naturalized Iranian-American, Pishevar was awarded the “Outstanding American by Choice” honor in 2012 and the “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” in 2016.
The Economy and Pishevar’s Predictions
It’s clear from his eye for potential unicorns to seed that Pishevar has a knack for predicting rising talent in today’s economic and technological landscape. And while many investors keep their predictions a tightly-guarded secret, Pishevar seems to be known for quite the opposite. The investment mogul has regularly expressed his thoughts about companies that he sees as having great potential.
It’s not just potential investments and companies’ growth that Pishevar speaks loudly about. He has, on multiple occasions, expressed thoughts on, and made some interesting predictions about, the U.S. economy and technology. Pishevar is known online for his hours-long rants on social media, often in the form of long strings of tweets on Twitter. His following on social media sites like Twitter hovers around 100,000 people eagerly waiting for his next “tweet storm.”
The 21-Hour Twitter Storm
In February of 2018, Pishevar went on a 21-hour, 50-tweet-long rant on the social media platform, detailing in quick bursts his opinions on the economy, technology, and infrastructure and even making predictions about Bitcoin’s worth.
Pishevar predicted that Bitcoin would fall from its value of $10,000 to somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000. He also claimed there would be a “6,000 point drop in aggregate.” In the midst of the storm, he stated that inflation was dead, as was the concept of Silicon Valley.
So, how accurate were Pishevar’s predictions? Well, Bitcoin landed exactly where he said it would, leveling out at just under $4,000. By the end of 2018, the stock market dropped 5,159 points of his predicted 6,000. And according to some sources, inflation truly is dead, with steady consumer-price growth and even deflation in a number of countries.
The alleged death of Silicon Valley is a bit more difficult to quantify. Pishevar stated that a failure by the United States to embrace immigrant talent lead to a crash of the tech hub. He believes that Silicon Valley is not just a physical place but also a viral idea. With innovations in technology and free, open internet, the great entrepreneurial minds won’t have to move far from home to generate new startups and cash flow.
Where Is Pishevar Now?
The successful venture capitalist proves that you don’t need to live in Silicon Valley to be a successful investor. Today, Shervin Pishevar lives in a large beachside house in Florida, a home with eight bedrooms, a movie theater, and a private dock. With a current personal value of more than $65 million, he is certainly doing well financially and, from the silence that currently surrounds him, seems content with his current position. He is a single father of two children from a previous marriage. Not much else is known of his personal life.
One thing remains clear about the entrepreneur: He will continue to make grand predictions, seed many more successful companies, and donate his time and finances to charitable causes. When asked for advice, Pishevar had this to say: “The biggest advice is never, ever, ever give up. That’s just – no matter what – don’t give up.”
Pishevar is a complicated, intelligent venture capitalist with an impressive resume. Deemed eccentric by some, he pursues advancements and companies that he believes in, ultimately coming out on top. Through a keen knowledge, Pishevar knows exactly how to predict market changes and has used that skill to seed more than 60 companies with potentially mounting returns. These are the qualities of a super angel, the kind of investor who knows his craft, and Pishevar embodies them admirably.