By Nazanine Nouri
Adam Foroughi is the latest Iranian-American to join the ranks of Silicon Valley tech billionaires. He is the CEO and co-founder of AppLovin, a tech company that provides mobile app developers with a set of solutions to market, monetize, analyze and publish their apps.
In April of this year, AppLovin raised $1.8 billion through an initial public offering (IPO), giving it a market capitalization of $28.6 billion.
After announcing their listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange on April 15, AppLovin tweeted:
“Today was an exciting day at AppLovin. Thank you to our amazing team who helped us achieve this great milestone.”
— AppLovin (@AppLovin) April 15, 2021
In a post on AppLovin’s mobile apps blog, Foroughi wrote:
“When we founded AppLovin in 2011, mobile technology was in its early days. The smartphone had just unlocked a new world of possibility. We could see that mobile apps were going to change the world. We believed that if we could help developers get their apps discovered by the right users, we’d have a meaningful business that would better the lives of consumers in all corners of the world.”
“A bright future lies ahead,” added Foroughi, “and as we begin our journey today as a public company, we stay committed to the developers and partners we serve.”
AppLovin just announced record second quarter 2021 financial results with the company’s total revenue more than doubling year on year. “We are pleased to report excellent progress during 2Q21,” says Foroughi, “advancing our software business at record rates resulting in our best financial performance yet.”
Adam Foroughi was born in Tehran in 1980, a year after the Iranian revolution and months before the Iran-Iraq war. His father, an engineer and co-owner of a large construction company, was responsible for building military runways. The family left Iran in June 1984 and temporarily settled in the south of France before moving to Irvine, California.
Maintaining their Persian traditions at home including speaking Farsi and honoring cultural celebrations, Adam’s parents worked hard to rebuild the lives they had left behind in Iran. He told the Huffington Post in 2017 that they have always been one of the strongest influences in his life, “emphasizing resilience, hard work, and the importance of education.”
“If it weren’t for the sacrifices they made when they left behind a very successful business in Iran to move my sister and I to the U.S. and give us a better life none of my success would have been possible,” he added.
After obtaining a business degree from the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 2001, Foroughi began his career as a derivatives trader, before switching to the world of startups. By 2011, he had co-founded two successful startups, LifeStreet Corporation and Social Hour, and when he had an idea for what would later become AppLovin.
Foroughi co-founded AppLovin in 2012 in Palo Alto, California to help app developers get discovered and make money. Foroughi grew the company for years without the help of venture money or outside funding.
“Starting a business from the ground up is always a struggle, particularly the financing part,” he told the Huffington Post. “I was pitching the idea of AppLovin to investors back in 2012, but they simply weren’t responding. We decided instead to bootstrap the company until we were profitable and could raise a fund from angel investors. It wasn’t easy, but my team and I did it by focusing on the product and building relationships with our customers.”
In 2016, Foroughi almost sold a majority stake in AppLovin to a Chinese investment firm for $1.4 billion, but the deal was blocked by the United States Committee on Foreign Investment, following the Trump administration’s reluctance to approve Chinese deals. As blessings sometimes come in disguise, five years later, the company would go on to be valued at $28.6 billion.
Foroughi and his wife Jaclyn are the proud parents of five children.