Internet pioneer, Payam Zamani is a semifinalist 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.
Zamani is a long-time entrepreneur, philanthropist, humanitarian, and investor. Zamani began his entrepreneurial journey in 1994, when he and his brother founded Autoweb.com, the web’s first car-buying service. The company recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of its initial public offering, which ultimately reached a market cap of $1.2 billion.
Today, Zamani is the founder, chairman, and CEO of One Planet, a hybrid tech firm that owns, operates and invests in a suite of online technology and media businesses. One Planet is leading the charge in redefining how businesses should be built and operated, considering the wider impact of the organization on the community it serves and humanity as a whole. This philosophy, embodied in the company’s tagline innovation x intention, conveys the need for businesses to adopt a calling far greater than financial gain and the maximization of shareholder value.
Zamani says “businesses today need to recognize their role in shaping the wider social fabric, and then drive their enterprise with a constant eye on dramatically improving and expanding their positive impact on the betterment of the world. As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, I believe our biggest problem is that success here—and all across the business world—is often only measured in financial terms. We need to change archaic ways of measuring success.”
Zamani’s impact outside of One Planet is also noteworthy. He serves on the board of directors of the Tahirih Justice Center, a national nonprofit that protects immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence and persecution. He is a member of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce, where One Planet is headquartered. Together, Zamani and his wife are, in addition to the Tahirih Justice Center, supporters of the Equal Justice Initiative, which recently opened a monument and a museum in Montgomery, Alabama honoring the lives of African-Americans who were the victims of lynching after the Civil War.
In 2018, Zamani was the recipient of the Award of Distinction from his alma mater, the University of California at Davis. The award is 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.
This year, Zamani joins a roster of other impressive Northern California nominees who are up for the Entrepreneur Of The Year award. In the past, the esteemed Ernst & Young program has honored such luminaries as Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, John Mackey of Whole Foods Market, Mindy Grossman of HSN, and Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot—all of whom have disrupted their respective industries and inspired others with their vision, leadership, and achievements. Finalists for the 2019 award will be announced on May 8th.
About One Planet
One Planet operates, funds and incubates businesses that cover a broad spectrum across the tech world and beyond. One Planet's largest operating business is Buyerlink, formerly Reply.com, the leading marketplace for the acquisition of locally-targeted consumer demand on the web. The company also owns and operates IMotors.com, MerchantCircle.com, Contractors.com, Quite Remarkable and California.com
The One Planet portfolio of investments includes companies like BestMile, Volans-i, The RealReal, Gro-Intelligence, SoulPancake, IronClad, and Toddle. One Planet’s founder, chairman and CEO, tech entrepreneur Payam Zamani, originally co-founded Autoweb.com in 1994, one of the first online car-buying services, which completed a successful IPO in 1999, reaching a market cap of $1.2B.
About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Program
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. As the first accolade of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing, and dynamic businesses—recognizing them through regional, national, and global awards programs in more than 145 cities across 60 countries.