This week, we’re going to do something different. Rather than interviewing someone with a set of questions, ELSA is going to tell a story about someone. This week, we tell the story of Pejman Nozad, Co-Founder of Pejman Mar Ventures, a well-respected Venture Capital firm in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Pejman grew up in Iran, and was a huge soccer fan — he hosted the most popular sports radio show in the country. He had fallen for a girl he grew up with as well. In 1992, he left his native Iran and moved to the Silicon Valley, with just $700. Pejman didn’t speak English, and his job as a sports radio host did not help him at all in getting a job in the area. He worked in a yogurt shop, and lived in the attic of the shop. One day while watching TV in that same attic, he saw an ad for the Medallion Rug Gallery — they were hiring. He immediately picked up the phone and called them. He got the job.
While working at the rug gallery, he asked lots of questions, he was curious, he learned about the “world around him.” He eventually told his boss, “We need to start a tech venture fund.”
It was tough at first, since most of the clients were coming straight from bigger meetings on Sand Hill Road, but Pejman and his boss served tea in the back of a store. They made some bad investments at first, but their luck changed in 2000, when they funded Andy Rubin, founder of Android. Today, the companies he has invested in are worth more than $20 billion.
Pejman accomplished all of what he did from 1992 until now while being an English language learner, like you and me. He took classes at a community college when he first came to America to learn English. He never gave up, and is now very, very, successful. You can do the same! All you need to do is persevere and never give up on what you want.