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#469 Robert Pera $4.46B

Random fact: Bought a controlling stake in the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012.

Overview

Pera is the founder and chief executive officer of Ubiquiti, a publicly-traded manufacturer of enterprise wireless products, including routers, antennas and switches. He owns 72 percent of the San Jose, California-based business and also has a stake in the NBA professional basketball team, the Memphis Grizzlies.

As of Jan. 21, 2018:
Last change +$83.9M (+1.9%)
YTD change +$225M (+5.3%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset UBNT US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 39
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Robert Pera's net worth of $4.46B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The bulk of Robert Pera's fortune is derived from his majority ownership of San Jose, California-based Ubiquiti Networks, a manufacturer of wireless products used in enterprise solutions. He owns 72 percent of the business, according to an October 2017 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He is also a part-owner of the National Basketball Association's Memphis Grizzlies, after he acquired a 25.6 percent stake in 2012, according to the daily Memphis Flyer.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of stock transactions, dividends and market performance.

Laura Kiernan, a spokeswoman for Ubiquiti Networks, declined to comment on Pera's net worth calculation in November 2017.

Biography

Birthdate: 3/10/1978
Family: Unmarried, No children
Education: University of California, Bachelor's Degree University of California San Diego, Master's Degree, Electrical Engineering

Born in St. Louis, Pera grew up in Redwood City, halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. His father worked as a consultant and is now CEO at Armanino Foods, an Italian frozen food maker. His mother works in public relations.

As a child, he loved video games and would seek out Japanese versions because they came out a year earlier than they did in the U.S. (“That was classic. That was just awesome,” he says of the 1996 Nintendo release Super Mario 64, in an interview with Bloomberg in April of 2013.) He played basketball in high school, though a heart infection kept him home for a year; the condition is now stable.

In 1997 he followed his older sister to college at the University of California, San Diego, where he double-majored in electrical engineering and Japanese, and stayed to complete a master’s degree in engineering. During his junior year, he went to Tokyo and noticed that mobile phones were way ahead of the U.S. market, and decided he wanted to work in cellular networks.

After graduation in 2002, he took a job at Apple. “I wanted to build products,” he says. “I idolized Steve Jobs.” He was assigned to test the company’s Wi-Fi routers to make sure they met Federal Communications Commission standards for electromagnetic emissions. The work was dull, but Pera showed up early, stayed late, and did his best to impress. He wanted to be assigned to a design group, and he shared this ambition with anyone who would listen. At his first annual review, his manager, who had been at the company for decades, told him to slow down. He received a 2-out-of-5 performance rating, and his pay stayed at $65,000 a year.

During his testing work, Pera noticed an easy way to improve Apple’s routers. The power sources they used to throw signals were far below FCC limits. Boosting would help increase their range. When his bosses at Apple ignored his idea, Pera decided he could build his own Wi-Fi module.

Searching online, he found that people in remote areas were already rigging Wi-Fi routers with external amplifiers to send signals over dozens of miles. It was a cheap way to get Internet access where telephone and cable companies didn’t reach. “This was a big market that was just starting, but nobody knew about it,” he says. For the next year, Pera did the bare minimum at work and spent his nights and weekends in his apartment testing prototypes. He was ready to start his own business by early 2005. Just before leaving Apple, he got a raise and a 4-out-of-5 rating at his annual review. “You’re finally finding your stride,” his boss told him.

Ubiquiti took its first orders in the summer of 2005, selling 4,000 high-powered radio cards to a handful of U.S. wireless Internet service providers. He introduced the Nano Station in early 2008, an all-in-one unit that providers could install at customers' homes to get them online. It was an instant hit.

Milestones
  • 2002 Graduates from University of California, San Diego
  • 2005 Takes first orders for Ubiquiti.
  • 2008 Releases the Nano Station
  • 2009 Ubiquiti releases AirMAX system.
  • 2011 Ubiquiti IPOs
  • 2011 Chinese distributor tells Ubiquiti about a factory counterfeiting its products.
  • 2012 Buys stake in the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • 2016 Ubiquiti introduces its $199 AmpliFi home Wi-Fi router.