Babak Motamedi is a wine-lover and entrepreneur who combined his two passions to create Kazzit, the world’s #1 winery guide.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I moved to Arizona in 2000 and have lived in Chandler, Tempe, and Arcadia. I currently reside in north Scottsdale with my wife and young son.
How did you get started in the tech industry?
I spent a brief time in college studying business, but left to become an entrepreneur at an early age. Throughout my career, I’ve always had the desire to get into the tech space because of how technology connects people and businesses.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
When I was 9 years old, I’d wash my parents’ cars for money in the summer. Then the neighbors asked me to wash their cars, and before I knew it, I had the local kids working for me. We were washing all the cars in the neighborhood.
How did you come up with the idea for your current business?
I founded Kazzit with my good friend Peter Kasperski, who is a celebrated restaurateur and wine guru. Through my friendship with Peter, we realized there is a giant void between consumers and wine producers, so we set out to bridge that gap.
What is your favorite part about running a business?
My favorite part is building something from nothing. The act of creating something that genuinely satisfies a need.
What was the biggest challenge in executing this idea?
The hardest part for me was going two years without any income while I built the company and also having to support my wife and new son. We lived off of savings, credit cards, and I was even a periodic Uber driver.
How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?
I moved to Arizona in 2000, but only entered the tech space five years ago. I’ve watched the tech space grow, but capital to fund tech is far behind. In my opinion, Arizona is a real estate capital through and through.
If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I moved to Arizona when entering adulthood, and my favorite thing is my network of friends and fellow professionals.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I’m a big fan of community, and I’m not a fan of Arizona being wide and thin.
In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?
Venture capital. We’re #5 in the country for tech businesses, but rank in the high 20’s in venture tech capital.
The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?
I’m a neighborhood guy, so I like to support local businesses and tend to frequent the breakfast joint in Market Street.
What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?
Noodles Ranch. No question. I am there at least twice a week.
What’s your favorite dinner spot?
Cowboy Ciao. No brainer. I am there at least once a week for dinner and pretty much every holiday, anniversary, or any other reason I can come up with.
What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?
I like working in hotels. It may sound cheesy, but I love working at five star resorts, specifically poolside at the Phoenician.
Best place for a meeting over drinks?
My personal favorite is Kazimierz Wine Bar because it’s close to the office, they open at 6, and it’s very quiet. You have plenty of privacy when they first open.
Image by Total Happy Hour.
What is your favorite memory from Arizona?
The birth of my son.
What is a common misconception about living in AZ?
People think dry heat makes a difference, but when it’s over 110 degrees it doesn’t.
Any tips for new Arizona residents?
Be careful not to judge by appearances. Arizona is made up of people from all over the country and from different backgrounds. Get to know people before you judge them.