CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation
Anousheh Ansari, Chairman of Prodea Systems has decades of entrepreneurial success and a lifelong passion for groundbreaking technologies. Recognized as the first female private space explorer, she became the fourth private explorer and first person of Iranian heritage to venture into space.
Her family's sponsorship of the Ansari XPRIZE, a $10 million award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks, made history in 2004 under legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan.
Prior to founding Prodea Systems, Anousheh co-founded, served as CEO, and chaired the board of Telecom Technologies, Inc. Her visionary leadership led to significant growth, including three pivotal U.S. patents and a merger with Sonus Networks, Inc., a prominent IP-based voice infrastructure provider.
A living example of the American Dream, Anousheh emigrated to the U.S. as a non-English-speaking teenager. She earned a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering, a master’s degree in electrical engineering, and is now pursuing a master's degree in astronomy.
Beyond her business achievements, Anousheh is dedicated to enabling social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally. She works with a number of non-profit organizations, including the Ashoka Foundation in support of social entrepreneurs.