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Sharif University of

Dr. Babak Parviz

Brief Biography

Dr Babak Parviz is a Venture Partner at the Madrona Venture Group, primarily focused on investing in artificial intelligence, biotech, and deep tech. 

Before joining Madrona in 2023, Babak was a vice president at Amazon for eight and a half years. He founded and led Amazon’s Grand Challenge — the organization responsible for identifying, investing in, and operationalizing substantial new areas for the company. During his time, the company grew by 10X and reached $1.5T in market capitalization. He led Amazon’s expansion into healthcare, including healthcare services, diagnostics, and implementing machine learning for health. He built and led teams focused on wearables, experiential e-commerce, media streaming technology, devices and services for childhood development, and machine learning for biotech, among other areas. Before joining Amazon, Babak was a director and distinguished engineer with Google X. At Google, he founded and led the Google Glass team from inception to launch. He co-founded the contact lens team that became a partnership with Novartis. Babak founded and led the robotics surgery program, later spun out as Verb Surgical and recently acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Babak has been with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Washington since 2003, first as an assistant professor, then an associate professor, and now as an affiliate professor. 

Babak serves on the board of directors of the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), is a fellow of SPIE, and has received many recognitions, including the University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award, IEEE CAS Society Industrial Pioneer Award, NSF CAREER Award, Rock Health Inventor of the Year, and MIT Technology Review 35 under 35. His work has been displayed at the London Museum of Science and the Computer History Museum and has won Time magazine’s Best Invention of the Year twice. He was recognized by Ad Age as one of the 50 most creative people in the United States.
Babak received a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Washington, a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from the Sharif University of Technology, and master’s degrees in physics and electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University.

Cherished Memory from Sharif

The best part of being at Sharif was meeting and making lifelong friendships with a remarkable group of people–mostly classmates but also some from other years. In a sense being there was a humbling experience as I realized there are so many people out there that are much smarter and more capable than myself. It motivated me to learn from them and try to do better.

Pulling all-nighters with friends to prepare for final exams in classes like “Pulse” creates a deep sense of camaraderie for sure. I skipped most of my “Electromagnetism and Waves” classes to play soccer north of the University–probably something people should not do :)

I was part of the class entering the university in 1370. Our cohort formed a group called “Barghe e Haftad” and we did a bunch of things together from publishing a newsletter to organizing our own graduation ceremony. 

Favorite Courses and Their Impact

Perhaps my best teacher in Sharif was Professor Hashemi. He had a lucid way of teaching complex mathematical concepts in telecommunication theory and making them easy to understand. I tried to take as many classes as possible with him and loved learning the material. If I remember right, the first class I took with him was “Signals and Systems”. To this day, I refer to the material as the concepts span many fields. Professor Hashemi was fantastic. 

Another course that stands out for me was “Electronics II” with Professor Sharif Bakhtiyar. This was a course that really taught me the methodology of engineering design. It also showed me how to design for a function given imperfect components (beta for BJT transistors is not exactly known but we can still use them to build fairly deterministic circuits). It was not an easy course but I appreciate what I learned there. 

Most Challenging Courses

“Control theory” was rather non-intuitive for me and I did not have an easy time with the course. My classmates with better math skills and better grasp of the material were doing great in the class but not me. I understood the importance of the material and how applicable it was, but still the course was not easy. It’s interesting how much things have changed with the advent of deep learning in this domain. 

Role Models or Inspirations

I have had quite a few people over the years that have inspired me and taught me. 

My chemistry teacher in high school (Mr Arasteh) and my physics teacher (Mr Faripour) were amazing people that dedicated their lives to teaching children. They opened my eyes to the beauty of science, esp physics and for sure changed my life.

My PhD advisor in Michigan (Professor Najafi) gave me a lot of intellectual freedom but was always there when I needed help. He was incredibly patient as I fumbled through years of failed experiments. A Great mentor.

My postdoc advisor (Professor Whitesides) created an amazing environment for people with intellectual curiosity to explore new things in his group. 

Finally, Andy Jassy (current CEO of Amazon) has been a great mentor showing me how to think about building products and services that people want and how to structure a business that can scale.

Impact of Cultural Background

I don’t think this is unique to me as most Iranian families value learning and scholarship and encourage their children to be thoughtful. It’s deeply embedded in a culture that is thousands of years old.

Open-Ended Topic Invitation

One last note. When I was at Sharif, the university had a great group of students and professors. Many of our professors had the experience of conducting research in international settings outside Iran. 

It is really important to make sure the University is connected to the academic world outside Iran as much as possible, as isolation will hold the institution back–it won’t be able to build atop what others have already built. 


دکتر بابک پرویز هم اکنون به عنوان شریک سرمایه‌گذار در گروه Madrona Venture فعالیت می‌کند، جایی که تمرکز اصلی او بر روی سرمایه‌گذاری در هوش مصنوعی، بیوتکنولوژی و فناوری‌های پیشرفته است. پیش از پیوستن به Madrona در سال ۲۰۲۳، بابک به مدت هشت سال در سمت VP شرکت آمازون فعال بود. او بنیان‌گذار و رهبر Amazon Grand Challenge - سازمانی که مسئول شناسایی، سرمایه‌گذاری و عملیاتی کردن حوزه‌های جدید و بزرگ برای شرکت است- بود. در طول دوران حضور بابک، آمازون رشدی ۱۰ برابری داشت و به ارزش بازار ۱.۵ تریلیون دلار رسید. همچنین، او رهبری گسترش آمازون در حوزه بهداشت و درمان از جمله خدمات بهداشتی، تشخیص‌های پزشکی و به‌کارگیری هوش مصنوعی در حوزه سلامت را بر عهده داشت. پیش از پیوستن به آمازون، بابک مدیر و مهندس برجسته در Google X بود. در گوگل، او بنیان‌گذار و رهبر تیم Google Glass از آغاز تا راه‌اندازی بود. او بنیان‌گذار تیم لنز تماسی هم بود که به شراکت با Novartis منجر شد. بابک بنیان‌گذار و رهبر برنامه جراحی روباتیک بود، که بعدا به عنوان Verb Surgical مستقل و اخیرا توسط جانسون و جانسون خریداری شد. بابک همچنین از سال ۲۰۰۳ با بخش مهندسی برق و کامپیوتر در دانشگاه واشنگتن به عنوان استاد و یا استاد وابسته همکاری داشته است.

دکتر پرویز عضو هیئت مدیره انجمن (American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) m و عضو SPIE است. بابک جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه دانش‌آموختگی دوصدساله دانشگاه میشیگان، جایزه پیشگام صنعتی جامعه IEEE CAS، جایزه NSF CAREER، مخترع سال Rock Health، و جایزه 35 زیر 35 سال MIT Technology Review را دریافت کرده است. پروژه های او در موزه علم لندن و موزه تاریخ کامپیوتر به نمایش گذاشته شده است و دو بار جایزه بهترین اختراع سال مجله تایم را برده است. او توسط Ad Age به عنوان یکی از خلاق‌ترین 50 فرد در ایالات متحده شناخته شده است.

بابک درجه لیسانس در ادبیات را از دانشگاه واشینگتن، درجه لیسانس مهندسی الکترونیک را از دانشگاه صنعتی شریف، و درجه کارشناسی ارشد در فیزیک و مهندسی برق و دکترای مهندسی برق را از دانشگاه میشیگان دریافت کرده است. او دوره پسادکتری خود را در شیمی و زیست‌شیمی در دانشگاه هاروارد به پایان رسانده است.

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