Manny Parra is a former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret, current Silicon Valley Entrepreneur and a proud Phi Delta Theta Founding Father of California Chi. Although he is an accomplished young man, his success did not come easy. In fact, though he considers himself lucky for having had a smooth transition back to civilian life at the age of 24, he found his entrepreneurial calling much later.
Like many of us, Parra was uncertain of his life-path after leaving high school. Unlike most, however, he channeled his thirst for adventure, his desire to help others and his lifelong passion with athleticism into five-years of service (and 75 combat missions) as a Green Beret.
This is how Parra describes his time in the Army: “Being such a young guy in the Special Forces helped tremendously in setting up the foundations for my life to come. I was a 22 year-old Green Beret in a work environment with a traditional age of 30 plus years old. I had to grow up quick. I was taught the values of leadership under pressure, maturity and, most importantly, the perseverance to accomplish the mission no matter what. These ideals that have helped tremendously in my career as an entrepreneur.”
After leaving the military a decorated veteran, Parra enrolled at the University of San Francisco to earn his Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Missing the brotherhood that he had grown accustomed to in the military, Parra immediately jumped at the opportunity to become a Founding Father of Phi Delta Theta, a fraternity sprouting up on campus. He describes it as “one of the most meaningful experiences of [his] college career.” It was at USF that he wrote the first business plan for his company, Revive, a platform for fitness entrepreneurs. Coming from a background where you had to be fit in order to survive, and jumping back into one where many people had a poor quality of life due to their lack of fitness, this seemed like the natural move for Parra.
Parra’s passion for entrepreneurship comes not only from his leadership experience as a Green Beret, but also to his time working for Y-Combinator backed startups and with VetsinTech. Parra’s advice to aspiring young entrepreneurs is to get involved with as many relevant organizations as possible:
“It was at local tech Meetups that I met my first Co-founder and current CTO Pegah Keshavarz and we immediately clicked. I met my second Co-founder and current COO Julius Baron through Phi Delta Theta. We were both Founding Fathers and worked intensely together to ensure the successful launch of California Chi. This experience working together as brothers in a fast-paced environment naturally led us to founding a business together as well. The moral of the story is: The only way to meet the right people is by putting yourself out there.”
Since its founding Revive has been accepted to the FbStart program by Facebook, SXSW Startup Spotlight and the Runway Incubator. Manny Parra is currently giving his all to Revive, fundraising and helping his fellow Green Berets through the Green Beret Foundation’s Next Ridgeline initiative. The Revive Team is also actively engaged in supporting California Chi. They will be co-sponsoring this year’s Iron Phi event!