Meet the KC native who just became tech’s newest billionaire

A key figure in the biggest tech IPO of the past year is a native of the Kansas City area — and he even has the Chiefs tailgating pictures to prove it.

Arash Ferdowsi co-founded Dropbox, the San Francisco-based file-sharing company, in 2007 with Drew Houston. Ferdowsi, 32, grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, and graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School in 2004.

Dropbox made its debut on public markets Friday. The company’s shares closed the day at a price of $28.48, giving Dropbox a market valuation of $11.2 billion — and Ferdowsi a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Eric Adler of The Kansas City Star profiled Ferdowsi in a 2013 article, in which the founder’s friends and family described him as quiet, unassuming, extremely smart and somewhat surprised by the smashing success his company had become.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about one of the Kansas City area’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, courtesy of The Star:

He dropped out of college

Ferdowsi received scholarships to attend the school of his dreams, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he met Houston and dropped out during his sophomore year to focus on Dropbox. Ferdowsi could always go back to school, he figured, if the company failed.

He’s the son of immigrants

Ferdowsi’s father, Gholam Ferdowsi, moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1978 to attend school. He met and married Arash’s mother, Tahmineh, also Iranian, in 1984. They had Arash, their only child, in 1985. They still reside in the Kansas City area today.

He’s gotten big help from other Kansas Citians

Kyle Vogt, who also graduated from high school in the Kansas City area and attended MIT, introduced Ferdowsi and Houston.

Jon Ying, a graduate of Blue Valley North, also in Overland Park, formerly served as chief design officer at DropBox. Ying left the company in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He loves the Kansas City Chiefs

The Star’s article describes Ferdowsi as “a huge – and frustrated — Kansas City Chiefs fan.” And, like any good Chiefs fan, Ferdowsi has a Facebook profile littered with photos of him sporting a jersey and tending a grill outside Arrowhead Stadium.

Tags:, , , , ,

Leave a Reply