Austin Russell became the youngest self-made billionaire in 2021; now he owns Forbes


Austin Russell is on quite a run.

The 28-year-old founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies, which develops vision-based lidar and machine perception technologies primarily for self-driving cars, told The Wall Street Journal today that he is acquiring an 82% stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings in a deal which values ​​the company at nearly $800 million.

According to the WSJ, Russell’s stake includes the remaining stake in the company owned by the family of the same name, which sold 95% of the company to Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Media in 2014. The company was essentially up for sale from the moment that Forbes was forced to call off its merger with an acquisition special purpose vehicle last June after the market weakened and investors lost their appetite for SPACs.

Luminar itself had better timing; The IPO came via a SPAC merger in 2021, when retail investors were still looking for shares in mobility tech companies. When Forbes abandoned its own plans to become a public company, so did almost all mobility SPACs trade below its asking price.

Luminar wasn’t immune to the general downturn. It was valued at $3.4 billion when it went public, and its market cap is about $2 billion today.

While retail investors may not be as pleased with that performance, Russell told the Silicon Valley Business Journal last year that he had no regrets about the SPAC maneuver, given the capital Luminar secured through the process and the fact that private market investors were keen started closing their checkbooks last year.

Luminar investors might also find it concerning that its CEO, whom Forbes itself dubbed as the in 2021 The world’s youngest self-made billionairecould soon turn some of his attention to other things, although it has become both fashionable to run more than one company at a time (Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey) and to be a billionaire with a media company to call your own ( Jeff Bezos). , Laurene Powell Jobs, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Marc Benioff).

Luminar only reported three days ago light greater than expected losses.

Some might also wonder whether it makes sense to buy a traditional media company when so many of them are struggling to stay relevant in a atomizing media landscape while advertising budgets are being hit hard by an accelerating advertiser retreat.

On the other hand, Russell has focused on Luminar since 2012, when he left Stanford to found the company, supported by a $100,000 grant from renowned investor Peter Thiel. (The Thiel Fellowship program, established in 2011, continues to award $100,000 to students who would like to work on their idea for two years, rather than “sit in a classroom.”)

Though he’s enjoyed the fruits of his labor — he bought an $83 million Los Angeles-Los Angeles in 2021 that has since been featured on hit show Succession, he reportedly paid another 10 over the winter, $6 million for a 13,000-square-foot mansion in Park, Fla., near Luminar’s Orlando headquarters — having focused his entire career on Luminar, he might be looking for outside inspiration.

As Paul Graham, Y combiner, once said, expressing his reluctance to fund particularly young founders: Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is that you succeed. “[I]When you start a successful startup, the untethered and fancy days of your life are over. You work for this company.”

TechCrunch approached Russell a while ago; We hope to have more insight into this step for you soon.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:




More like this

Productive assets and useful flows

Assets are property. These are devices, skills,...

Meta found liable as court blocks firing of moderators

A Kenyan court has ruled that Meta is...

How to Change Careers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing careers...

RBI draws up plan to make non-bank e-payments safer

MUMBAI: Have you ever downloaded an app that...