Humble Beginnings: How Shervin Pishevar’s Upbringing Played a Huge Role in His Success
We’ve all heard about the American Dream before-the dream of starting from very little and climbing your way up the ladder of success, all on a basis of hard work, ingenuity, and good old-fashioned blood and sweat. However, there are only a handful of examples of people who have truly lived that American Dream out at every end of the spectrum, moving from nothing through to experiencing the kind of life many people only dream of.
Shervin Pishevar is one such individual; he didn’t get to where he is through mere good luck. After immigrating with his parents to the United States in 1976, Pishevar experienced the ups and downs that are a part of acclimatizing to a country different from his birth country of Iran. Although his father had originally come to the US with the goal of completing his master’s degree, he soon found himself returning to Iran just two years later to be a part of the revolution. So, Pishevar learned from a very early age to deal with chaos and uncertainty as his parents were split across two countries, and that experience was truly formative in shaping the ethos and work ethic that he carried with him into future business ventures.
Pishevar was always driven by the desire to learn, which was instilled in him by his parents, alongside the value of hard work. Because of this, he began publishing work at the young age of just 20, when he first published an article on human rights and doctors in JAMA, which had a significant carry-on effect on the formation of the Istanbul Protocol. At a young age, Pishevar had tasted what it felt like to be a part of shaping the world he lived in, and that desire would continue to define his choices during his career.
Although he had a strong attraction to the medical professional, Pishevar decided that he would instead follow the call of entrepreneurialism.
His first venture into technology came in 1993 when Pishevar had a lightbulb moment. Using the web, he was able to access information from all across the globe. Suddenly, he saw that technology would offer him the access he needed to truly change the world. This way, he’d be able to impact many more lives than if he had followed his original passion into medicine.
Pishevar’s early work saw him growing companies that provided online services, which was still groundbreaking in the early 90s. Since then, Pishevar has now funded 50 companies, continuing to grow products and services that improve the lives for many people through the specific benefits they offer.
However, Pishevar’s work isn’t solely in the business and technology spaces. He’s continued to make the world a better place for many through his philanthropy and passion for charity. Pishevar holds the honor of being named as one of only 10 members on the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council and has served his country as a US Entrepreneurial Ambassador on many State Department trips. He even received the privilege of working alongside President Obama at the Summit on Entrepreneurship. Pishevar also takes a more straightforward approach to philanthropy, supporting organizations such as Water and Invisible Children in their direct efforts within Africa. As Pishevar has gotten older, he’s been able to connect his own personal story with his work as well. The formation of The Cyrus Prize allowed for a $100,000 genius grant to be awarded to Iranian innovators, connecting Pishevar’s love of innovation with his Iranian roots and love for his home country.
You’d imagine that a man as busy as Pishevar would take a hands-off approach to his investments; instead, Pishevar values the tension of creative entrepreneurialism and has provided a strong guiding hand to many of his start-ups. By staying close to their development, Pishevar is able to lend his decades of first-hand experience to teams as they take great ideas and shape them to be most strategic and effective within the marketplace.
Taking a hands-on approach has positioned Pishevar to always be ready when a great idea comes across his table, and there’s no greater proof of this approach than in his world-changing conversation with Elon Musk. Seated together on a plane in January of 2012, Pishevar convinced Musk to take the early form of his idea for the Hyperloop and publish it, so that Musk’s thoughts would be available for strategic approach. Musk followed his wisdom and, a year later, the first white paper on the Hyperloop was published.
Pishevar has been able to bring his years of experience and connections within the technology disruption industry and create teams of talented creators and innovators to tackle the idea behind the Hyperloop and all of its potential.
Now, the public stands to benefit from this work, with Pishevar’s team in conversation with governments around the world about how the Hyperloop can be built to change transportation for the better. In countries like Russia, India, and the US, the Hyperloop as a means of travel may soon be a reality. And when that happens, we’ll never look back.
If you need some inspiration for innovation, look no further than Shervin Pishevar. The Iranian-born child who immigrated to an unknown country with his parents has never looked back, and now the entire world stands to benefit from his hard work, commitment, and compassion. A world without Pishevar is a world without many innovations that are now cornerstones of industries, and we can’t wait to see what Pishevar has in store for us around the corner.