Prospective new Grizzlies buyer Robert Pera of San Jose tech firm Ubiquity is worth $800 million, is said to be a hoops enthusiast….and beyond that, well, who is this guy? Along with referencing recent blows to Ubiquity’s stock price and the company’s contentious history, the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Ted Evanoff and Kyle Veazney had a little difficult in forming a full picture of Pera.
For three days last week in San Jose, The Commercial Appeal sought out more than a dozen people believed to know Pera. Most declined repeated requests for interviews.
Pera didn’t respond to an e-mail or a message left with an employee in Ubiquiti’s sleek lobby, which has glass-walled conference rooms on each side of the entry but no receptionist.
A source close to Pera said he is abiding by NBA requests not to comment publicly during the league’s evaluation of his purchase. He has, however, reached out to the local minority ownership group.
What’s known from public records and press reports is that Pera grew up in San Carlos, Calif., one of the many smaller cities on the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. His father was a business consultant who now is the CEO of a food distribution company in nearby Hayward. His mother is a career networking consultant.
Pera sat out one year of high school, troubled by a heart-valve problem, but finally graduated and enrolled in the University of California at San Diego. There, he earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and Japanese as well as a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
The school last week verified his degrees, but professors were scrambling to remember him.
One member of Ubiquiti’ s board of directors, Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital, tweeted last week that Pera is “the most successful entrepreneur in (Silicon Valley) that you don’t know.”
“There’s some guys who are comfortable running under the radar,” said Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author. “It’s the rare entrepreneur, Type A entrepreneur, who doesn’t have an ego to have a PR agency, so my compliments to this guy.”
Blank said he had never heard of Pera. Two other professors at universities in the area who have expertise in Silicon Valley said they weren’t familiar with him.