Austin Russell

40 under 40-2021 Austin Russell
Courtesy of Luminar
  • Age
  • Title
    Founder and CEO
  • Company
    Luminar Technologies

The then 25-year-old Austin Russell is believed to have become the youngest self-made billionaire in America—if not the world—when his company, Luminar, went public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal last December. Luminar specializes in lidar sensor technology, which has been tipped as critical to many automakers’ efforts to develop autonomous, self-driving cars, and Russell apparently understood its potential earlier than most. He founded Luminar as a 17-year-old high school student, and soon dropped out of Stanford midway through his freshman year to accept a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship and focus on the company. Today, his stock in Luminar is believed to make him worth around $1.8 billion—and while there are plenty of twentysomethings who have inherited such an amount, Russell is one of the very few in the world to have built such wealth for himself.

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