As a child growing up in Iran, the importance of education was instilled in Maryam Rofougaran at a young age.
Her parents had to forgo higher education in order to provide for the family, so they encouraged their four children to attend college and pursue professional careers.
Rofougaran says she particularly enjoyed solving math and physics problems, and she dreamed that one day she could work as a scientist.
After her brother, Reza, moved to the United States to attend college, Rofougaran asked her parents to allow her to pursue her studies at UCLA. They agreed. When she arrived on campus, her brother took her to the engineering lab, where she learned that engineering was the application of her two loves: math and physics. Her career path was born.
Some two decades later, that path has led Rofougaran to Irvine, where in 2016 she and Reza founded Movandi Corp., a communications technology company that’s best known for breakthroughs that are making 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network, fast and efficient for mobile users.
The company has raised more than $90 million in funding and has partnerships with big-name mobile technology companies like Qualcomm and Verizon. Its technology is used in home, mobile and automotive communications systems.
“We are pioneers building this market,” Rofougaran says. “We are trying to enable the next generation of wireless. What we’re doing is leapfrogging what exists.”
Movandi is also at the forefront of another important technology trend: Its headquarters are in Irvine, which is increasingly becoming a hub for innovative and dynamic technology companies.
“Irvine is a great place.” Rofougaran says, “UC Irvine is here. There are many tech companies that are here, so we are close to experienced engineers and students at the university.