Shaping and Making a Future: Iranian American Business and Technology Leaders in Silicon Valley

Publication Date


Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

Urban Studies and Entrepreneurship


Muhammad Naveed Iftikhar, Jonathan B. Justice, David B. Audretsch



First Page


Last Page



The Iranians in America is a compelling yet understudied topic area within the academic literature. Although there have been recent efforts dedicated to the lives and contributions of Iranians elsewhere within the United States (U.S.), very little academic work has focused on Iranian Americans within the San Francisco Bay area and more importantly, Silicon Valley. Despite the industrious leadership and intellectual and professional contributions that these Iranian Americans make towards the advancement of Silicon Valley, there is limited understanding of this high achieving group. Although there is special attention to highly skilled Taiwanese, Indians, and Israelis in Silicon Valley and their on-going relationship with their respective countries of origin within the recent academic literature, little work has been conducted on the role of highly skilled Iranian Americans in Silicon Valley. Thus, this chapter begins to document and explore who is this elusive, yet extremely important, highly skilled group of Iranian Americans. Drawing from 20 semi-structured interviews as a primary methodology, the study works to uncover the various types of highly skilled Iranian Americans and their entrepreneurial and/or professional contributions to Silicon Valley through two lenses; the first focuses on elements of self-motivation; the second includes a better understanding of regional conditions that may have supported such success.

Funding Sponsor

Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute


Immigrants, Iranian Americans, Silicon Valley


Urban and Regional Planning