Payam Zamani (born February 12, 1971) is serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and investor.
He is the founder, chairman and CEO of One Planet Ops Inc., a hybrid tech firm that owns and operates a suite of online technology and media businesses, incubates new business ideas, and invests in entrepreneurs and innovative business ideas globally. One Planet's family of businesses include BuyerLink.com, iMotors.com, Contractors.com, MerchantCircle.com, California.com, and Quite Remarkable.
The company's mission supports strong business ideas while building an ethos that helps improve society and gives back to communities.
This philosophy, embodied in the company's tagline innovation x intention, conveys that good ideas and profitable businesses are not enough; to positively impact the world, we need to align all our efforts with altruistic intentions that will ultimately benefit humanity.Zamani, a member of the Bahá'í Faith, arrived in America in 1988, as an Iranian refugee fleeing religious persecution.
Thrilled for the opportunity to receive a higher education (since 1980, Baha'is have not been allowed to attend universities in Iran), he put himself through college and earned a B.S.
in environmental toxicology from the University of California, Davis. Shortly after graduating, Zamani began his entrepreneurial journey by founding and launching internet-based businesses, including Autoweb.com, the first online car buying service which he founded with his brother in 1994.
Zamani helped to take the company public in 1999, and the company's market cap ultimately reached $1.2 billion.In addition to owning and operating One Planet, Zamani currently serves or has previously served on the Board of Directors or Advisors to many technology-based startups, including The RealReal, SoulPancake, Wayfarer Entertainment, and BestMile.
He also mentors many entrepreneurs, recent graduates and youth, especially those who have had to face oppression. Together, Zamani and his wife Gouya support the Tahirih Justice Center—where he also serves on its national board of directors—which works with immigrant women and girls fleeing violence.
They also support the Equal Justice Initiative, which recently opened a monument and a museum in Montgomery, Alabama honoring the lives of African-American victims of lynching after the Civil War.
In 2016, Zamani received the Tahirih Justice Center's Hope Award.
For Tahirih, his personal story of immigration inspires hope for those fleeing violence in search of new beginnings in the U.S.In 2017, IranWire listed Zamani as one of 50 Iranian-Americans you should know.
In 2018, Manoto—the leading Persian broadcasting network—aired an inspiring talk he gave on the future of business and philanthropy, broadcast to over 40 million people.
Zamani is also the recipient of the 2018 Award of Distinction from the University of California at Davis, the highest recognition presented by the university to individuals whose contributions and achievements enrich the image and reputation of the university and enhance its ability to provide public service.
In 2019, Payam was nominated Entrepreneur of the Year in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year program.
The prestigious award celebrates game-changing business leaders who exemplify excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their companies and local communities.