SkyChat with Arman Zand

SkyChat with Arman Zand

SkyDeck’s Advisor network is filled with talented and passionate industry experts. We look forward to not only seeing their continued mentorship for our teams but also getting to know our them better throughout the year. Today, we learn more about SkyAdvisor Arman Zand, Head of Portfolio Engagement at Quona Capital.

Tell us a little about yourself

I grew up in Albany, CA and I went to Albany High School. For undergrad, I went to UC Santa Cruz, but I always knew I wanted to come back to Berkeley for business school. Out of college I spent 15 years at Silicon Valley Bank building their international operations in India, UK, Israel, and China. Currently, aside from being a SkyAdvisor and the Head of Portfolio Engagement at Quona Capital. I’m also an advisor to several companies outside of SkyDeck. I also teach part-time at the Haas School of Business. When I’m not working, I really enjoy spending time with my family, going on hikes, and enjoying the Bay Area. I also like to ride my bike and swim.

What made you interested in your field?

I always had a passion for technology and hardware gadgets in particular. As a child, I loved anything electronic that I could take apart and put back together. I was an early adopter at the beginning of the internet and was drawn to its vast potential. After undergrad, I knew I wanted to do something in tech but I was an Economics major so Silicon Valley Bank seemed like an obvious choice.

What made you decide to join Quona Capital?

After returning from China, I spent some time plugging my network to find a role that I could excited about. I was also looking do to something with global impact. Quona Capital came along and it seemed like a perfect fit. As the Head of Portfolio Engagement, I work with early entrepreneurs and help them solve problems. We invest in three major geographies including Latin America, Africa, and India. Each market is unique with its own challenges and opportunities. It’s quite interesting to navigate these markets and find ways to be helpful to our companies.

Why did you decide to become a SkyAdvisor?

Ever since I graduated with an MBA from Haas, I wanted to help Berkeley establish itself as a force in tech innovation. I strongly believe in the power of Berkeley and the brand. It was an easy decision.

What has been your favorite part of being a SkyAdvisor?

I love working one-on-one with new entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to prospective startup companies?

Use your time and resources wisely. The startup journey is riddled with time-wasting agendas that pose as opportunities. That includes investors that never intend to invest, “advisors” who are just there for their own benefit, and potential partners who waste your time without any results. Be judicious with your time, carefully selecting who you choose to engage with and how much energy you expend.

It’s great getting to know you, Arman! We continue to look forward to seeing you at SkyDeck.


by Rani Davina Chan, SkyIntern