Robert J. Pera (born March 10, 1978) is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. a global communications technology company that Pera took public in 2011. In October 2012, Pera also became the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, when he purchased the National Basketball Association franchise from Michael Heisley. At the age of 36, Pera earned a spot on Forbes’ list of 10 youngest billionaires in the world.
Early life and education
Pera established his first computer services company while attending high school. That company provided networking and database services to local businesses. Pera also played on his high school’s basketball team until a heart condition, which has long since resolved, kept him home for a year. After high school, Pera attended the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Japanese Language. He stayed on at the University of California, San Diego and completed his masters in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on Digital Communications and Circuit Design.
After graduation, Pera, who admired Steve Jobs, secured a job at Apple Inc., where he tested the company’s Wi-Fi devices to ensure compliance with Federal Communications Commission standards for electromagnetic emissions. While working at Apple, Pera noticed that the power sources that Apple’s WiFi devices used to throw signals were far below FCC limits. Boosting their power, he reasoned, could increase their transmission range to over dozens of miles, which could facilitate Internet access in areas that telephone and cable companies don’t reach. When his bosses at Apple Inc. ignored his idea, Pera decided to build his own low-cost, high performance WiFi module. For the next year, Pera spent his nights and weekends in his apartment testing prototypes. By early 2005 he was ready to start his own business and he left Apple Inc. to form Ubiquiti Networks.