Zia Chishti is a founder of Two-billion dollar companies. He is an american born nationality but he came to Pakistan after the death of his father but again went to US for the studies. Zia has served as the Chairman & CEO of Align Technology (NASDAQ: ALGN) which he led from inception to a $1 billion public valuation.
|In Urdu:||ضیا چشتی|
|Old Name:||Wilson Lier|
|Residence:||Washington District of Columbia, United states|
|Education:||Did his masters from Stanford university|
|Profession:||Zia Chishti is a founder of two billion-dollar companies,|
|Founder:||Founding Chairman and CEO of Align Technology a medical device technology company that he led from startup to over a $1 billion valuation on the NASDAQ|
|Parents:||Sadia Chishti (Mother), Wilson Lear (Father)|
|Siblings :||Only child|
|Company Name:||Alien Technology and TRG|
|Net Worth:||Two billion dollar|
Zia serves as Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Afiniti. Prior to founding Afiniti, Zia was the founding Chairman and CEO of Align Technology, a medical device technology company that he led from startup to over a $1 billion valuation on the NASDAQ. Zia also served in the mergers and acquisitions department of Morgan Stanley & Company in New York and London, and briefly served as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in London. Zia received his MBA from Stanford University and his BA from Columbia University where he majored in Economics and Computer Science and was a member of the varsity crew team. Zia is an avid skier and chess player.
Born in 1971 in the US state of Maine to an American father and a Pakistani mother, his name at birth was Wilson Lear. When his father died in 1974, Chishti’s mother moved back to Pakistan and changed his name so that he would not stand out in Lahori society. Chishti’s father had been an American convert to Islam and was intimately familiar enough with Pakistan to request burial near a Sufi saint’s shrine in Faisalabad, but Saadia Chishti, who has a PhD in education from Cornell University, still wanted to make sure that her son would not be seen as “foreign” in Lahore. But despite the name change, the American side of Zia never really went away. It helped that he went to Lahore American School, and then went off to college to Columbia University in New York. And it probably helped that his life in America really was the American dream. There are probably few people who have had as charmed a run of their 20s as Zia Chishti.
The First Unicorn
He envisioned the idea of Align Technology, the first of his eventual unicorns, out of his dorm room, he said, motivated by the pain he suffered through a course of orthodontic treatment in his early twenties. “I felt there had to be a better way to accomplish the same outcome. The company was focused on the dental space and we had the technology that would allow a whole full art orthodontic treatment without braces. Since I also had an engineering background, we would instead use air-generated plastic appliances and, as it turned out, it was extremely successful.” Align, the medical device technology company that he led from startup to over a $1 billion valuation on the NASDAQ stock market, was eventually steered to a valuation of over $18 billion, but without Zia who left it in the summer of 2002 – a significant year in many aspects for the business tycoon who was only beginning his journey.
TRG is a venture capital company focused on making acquisitions and investments in the business process outsourcing and related industries. “Our job is to be good stewards of capital, not managers of companies.” That may be just as well, because if TRG is a company, it is one that is very difficult to make sense of unless you know the life of the people who founded it. The company is headquartered in Washington DC, is publicly listed in Pakistan, has subsidiaries that are publicly listed in London, and has the highest proportion of its employees based in the Philippines. The first thing you notice when you walk into Zia Chishti’s office in Washington DC is that you can see the White House from his window. And the first thought that occurs to you is: “what a strange choice of location for the headquarters of a call-center company.” And if you mention that to Mr Chishti, he will want to correct you: TRG Pakistan is not a call-center company.
The new company, called Align Technology, was able to raise over $140 million in venture capital in its first three years in existence, giving it the kind of war chest it needed to begin aggressively developing and marketing its product in the US market. And its aggressive growth strategy got noticed: the company was the subject of a feature story on the front page of The New York Times in August 2000. By January 2001, Align Technology was successful enough to be listed on the NASDAQ at a valuation just north of $1 billion. At 29, Chishti had a net worth of $23 million. People magazine noticed the handsome young entrepreneur and listed him as one of “America’s Top 50 Bachelors” in July 2001, in a year when the list included actors Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Hartnett. Of course, nobody’s luck can run forever, and Chishti also faced his share of difficulties. A dispute with his investors led to Chishti’s ouster from Align Technology in 2003. When asked by Profit to comment on the causes of the dispute, Chishti declined to comment.