Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari


Anousheh Ansari is the CEO of XPRIZE, the world’s leader in driving innovation to solve humanities grand challenges. She is a global presence in future-positive tech markets, a leader in the climate sector, and a recognized voice for women within STEM, entrepreneurship and tech industries.

Prior to XPRIZE, Ansari served as the CEO and Chairwoman of Prodea Systems, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology firm she co-founded in 2006. While under her leadership, the company earned recognition as one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies.

In 2006, Ansari captured headlines around the world when she embarked upon an 11-day space expedition to the International Space Station, accomplishing her childhood dream of becoming the first female private space explorer, first astronaut of Iranian descent, first Muslim woman in space, and fourth private explorer to visit space.

Ansari and her family sponsored XPRIZE’s first venture in 1994: the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE that ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight. She began serving on its Board of Directors and became CEO of XPRIZE in 2018, leading and scaling the foundation to its highest impact period to date. Under Ansari’s leadership, XPRIZE has awarded over $81M to innovators via its competitions, and has launched $361M in active competitions that span its seven grand challenge areas and will have significant impact on climate, health, and technological innovations. In its 30 years since founding, XPRIZE has launched 30 prizes offering over $500 million in prize purses, hosting over 35,000 innovators from around the world to participate in its competitions.

Beyond XPRIZE, Ansari serves as chair of the cyber community of Jabil, on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Future Council, co-chair of the quantum track of GESDA, and is an advisor of the Open Quantum Institute. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and serves on the board, a life member of the Association of Space Explorers, and is a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. As part of her life-long support for women in industry, Ansari co-founded The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, which successfully invested $1B in women-founded companies by 2020.

Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, and honorary doctorates from George Mason University, Utah Valley University, and International Space University. She has received numerous honors, including the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southwest Region, and the Horatio Alger Award.  

She published her memoir, My Dream of Stars, to share her life story as inspiration for young women around the world.