|Austin Russell Quick Info
|6 ft 4 in
|Date of Birth
|March 14, 1995
Austin Russell is an American entrepreneur who is best known as the founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies Inc., an American company that develops vision-based lidar (stands for ‘light detection and ranging’ or ‘laser imaging, detection, and ranging’ – a method for determining ranges by targeting an object/surface with a laser and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver) and machine perception (the capability of a computer system to interpret data similar to the way humans use their senses to relate to the world around them) technologies, primarily for autonomous cars.
Newport Beach, Orange County, California, United States
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, United States
Austin graduated in 2013 from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, a selective private college preparatory school located in San Juan Capistrano, California. While still in high school, he also briefly studied at the Beckman Laser Institute, an interdisciplinary research center for the development of optical technologies. The institute is located on the campus of the University of California, Irvine, a public land-grant research university in Irvine, California.
After his high school graduation, he attended Stanford University, a private research university in Stanford, California, for 3 months, taking courses in applied physics. He dropped out later in 2013 after receiving USD 100k from the Thiel Fellowship – created by German-American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel for students aged 22 or younger. It offers them USD 100,000 over 2 years to pursue scientific research, the creation of a startup, or work on a social movement.
- Father – Michael Russell (Commercial Real Estate Broker)
- Mother – Shannon Russell (Former Model)
On April 4, 2022, Austin Russell’s net worth was $1.6 billion according to Forbes.
6 ft 4 in or 193 cm
75 kg or 165.5 lbs
Race / Ethnicity
He is of American descent.
- Lanky frame
- Slightly overgrown, side-parted, wavy, hair
- Affable smile
- Sports a thin beard
Austin Russell Facts
- When he was about 15 years old, Austin applied for a patent – for a groundwater recycling system that he had developed.
- Around the same time, his parents introduced him to an entrepreneur named Jason Eichenholz who became Austin’s mentor. The duo would later go on to co-found Luminar Technologies Inc. where Jason would serve as the chief technology officer.
- Luminar Technologies Inc. was founded in 2012 while Austin was still in high school – just after he had turned 17 years old. The company spent its first 5 years in stealth mode (a temporary state of secretiveness maintained by a company, usually to avoid alerting competitors to a pending product launch or another business initiative).
- During this time, he used to engineer and manufacture his company’s lidar components on his own rather than purchasing them. He stated in an interview that he taught himself these and other new skills by reading Wikipedia articles and watching YouTube videos. In 2018, the renowned Forbes magazine included him in its ’30 Under 30′ list.
- The company went public in December 2020 and Austin’s 104.7 million shares (approximately a third of Luminar Technologies Inc.‘s equity) were worth USD 2.4 billion at the close of trading on December 3, 2020.
- This made him the world’s youngest self-made billionaire – he was 25 years and 8 months old then. He also became chairman of the company around this time. In 2021, Fortune magazine included him in its ’40 Under 40′ list.
- In January 2022, he donated USD 4 million to Team Seas, an international collaborative fundraiser that was started by YouTubers MrBeast and Mark Rober. Donations from the fundraiser went to the Ocean Conservancy (a nonprofit advocacy group that formulates ocean policy at the federal and state government levels in the United States) and the Ocean Cleanup (a nonprofit environmental engineering organization based in the Netherlands that develops technology to extract plastic from the oceans).
- Austin’s contribution allowed the fundraiser to reach its initial goal of USD 30 million. The fundraiser pledged to remove 30 million pounds of marine debris from the planet’s oceans. By April 2023, the fundraiser had seen more than USD 33 million being raised.
- In May 2023, Austin acquired an 82% stake in Forbes in a deal that valued the company at USD 800 million. This majority stake included the remaining portion of the company owned by the Forbes family (which includes several related people who founded and/or have worked for Forbes magazine) that was not previously sold to Integrated Whale Media Investments, a Hong Kong-based investment group that owns most of the rest of the company’s shares.
Featured Image by Austin Russell / Instagram