Building Businesses


Entrepreneur Eman Pahlavani, BS Political Science ’09, says he found his time at Mason transformational and the social networking skills he developed as a student have been instrumental in his success as an entrepreneur. 

Mason alum Eman Pahlavani sits on a worktable in front of a red display wall with his company name Hungry
Mason alum Eman Pahlavani is interested in creating purpose-driven companies that can make a positive impact.

“Attending Mason was a crash course in how to think, talk, and connect with other people,” says Pahlavani. “I was a shy person when I arrived, and I really blossomed in that environment.” 

Born and raised in Loudoun County, Pahlavani attended Northern Virginia Community College before transferring to Mason. After graduating, he earned a juris doctor from the University of New Hampshire Law School in 2012.

One of his first entrepreneurial endeavors was founding LiveSafe, a personal safety mobile application that has since become a global enterprise. LiveSafe was acquired by Vector Solutions in 2020. 

During development of LiveSafe, Pahlavani noticed the office staff didn’t have a lot of choices for workplace lunches. With that observation, a new venture was born—HUNGRY, a tech-enabled platform for office and event catering, connecting corporate clients to talented local independent chefs. 

“I am a business builder at heart,” says Pahlavani, founder and chief operating officer of HUNGRY. “I identify a problem and find a business solution to solve it.”

Launched in 2017, HUNGRY has experienced exponential growth and now serves more than 15 major markets. In response to the pandemic and the changing office landscape, HUNGRY continues to innovate and has added a number of new options, including meal delivery and virtual chef experiences. This type of growth has earned them a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies two years in a row.

For Pahlavani, it’s not just about growth, it’s also about doing good. HUNGRY donates one meal for every two meals sold to help end hunger in the United States and, working with its partner Feeding America, has contributed more than half a million meals to date. 

“HUNGRY is a purpose-driven company dedicated to improving the lives of everyone we touch,” he says. “Every business should have a component of good.”