Payam Zamani

In 1987 at the age of 16, Zamani fled religious persecution in Iran during a period when many Baha’is were arrested and hundreds executed. Young Baha’is were barred from attending university by a government policy that still exists today. As a child, Zamani was shunned by his teachers and targeted by his classmates, who mercilessly beat him. He was ultimately denied an education as well as the right to leave Iran.

After his graduation from the University of California, Davis in 1994, Zamani began his entrepreneurial journey when he co-founded, the first online car buying service, with his brother. Zamani helped take the company public in 1999 and the company’s market cap reached $1.2 billion.

As the founder and CEO of One Planet, a hybrid tech firm that owns and operates a suite of online technology and media businesses and is also an early stage investor in many cutting edge companies, Zamani inspires his staff and entrepreneurs to maintain a social impact agenda. Zamani’s vision for One Planet redefines how businesses are run by rejecting the idea of winning at any cost. This philosophy is embodied in One Planet’s tagline ‘Innovation x Intention,’ measuring more than financial success, but by how a company adds value to make the world a better place.

To bolster this culture of service, One Planet gives its employees up to nine service days a year, paid days where employees can give back to their communities in whatever way they choose. Additionally, One Planet donates about 20 percent of its annual profits to charitable causes.