Austin Russell Youngest Self Made Billionare

Austin Russell is an American entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Luminar Technologies. Luminar specializes in lidar and machine perception technologies, mainly used in autonomous cars. Luminar went public in December 2020, making him the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 25

Austin Russell
Austin Russell

Austin Kingsley Russell (born 13 March 1995) is an Entrepreneur & the founder and chief executive officer of Luminar Technologies Inc from Newport Beach, California. Russel is the youngest self-made billionaires. Russel came to the limelight after his company Luminar Technologies went public in Nasdaq through a SPAC merger on 3 December 2020 which made him the youngest billionaire at the age of 25 on earth worth $2.4B with a 35% stack in it. Russel, an optics prodigy who developed the idea for Luminar when he was just 17 years while studying physics at Stanford University. He dropped out of Stanford University after receiving a fellowship worth $100,000 from Peter Thiel in 2012 to start his own company. Austin Russel was born on 13 March 1995 and his age is 26 years as of 2021.

Full Name Austin Kingsley Russell
Born 13 March 1995
Age (As of 2024) 29 Years of 2024
Hometown Newport Beach, California
Occupation Entrepreneur, Businessman
Alma Mater Dropout from Stanford University, Studied Applied Physics
Company Founded Luminar Technologies Inc (Sensor makers for self-driving cars)
Current City Los Altos, California
Nationality American, United States
Religion Christian
Height (Approx) No Info
Eye Color Dark brown
Hair Color Brown
Marital Status Single
Spouse NA
Net Worth $2.7B (as of 27 April, 2021)
Source of Wealth Self Made, Business

Early Life & Education

Russell was born in Newport Beach, California. Russell was interested in laser and optics from his childhood. The interest in optics led him to create Lidar Technology products for self-driving cars. While studying in high school, he also studied at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine. In childhood, Russel’s parents denied offering him a cell phone, he programmed a device using Wi-Fi which he called his father from the portable game system while coming home by school bus. By his teen years, Russell built computing systems, supercomputers, ultimately evolving into lasers, optics and photonics. At 15 years only he built a holographic keyboard to take notes in class and by age 17 filed a patent for it


Austin Russell founded Luminar Technologies Inc in 2012. Luminar makes sensors for self-driving cars or Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) which guide vehicles. He is the founder & current CEO of Luminar Technologies Inc. Russel says the foundation of his success was the abandonment of the formal University Degree and try to change the world by thinking out of the box.

He is a Thiel Fellow and left Stanford University at age 17 to start his company, Luminar Technologies. College dropout Austin Russell founded and runs automotive sensor firm Luminar Technologies, which went public in a SPAC merger on 3 December 2020.

Founding of Luminar & Culture

Luminar Technologies went public trading on NASDAQ as LAZR on December 3, 2020, with a market capitalization of $ 8.1 billion. Luminar was valued at about $1.1 billion before going public in the SPAC merger, according to PitchBook Data.

Luminar’s backers are Peter Thiel, who awarded a then-17-year-old Russell a fellowship to help start the firm and GoPro Inc. founder Nick Woodman. The company has a partnership with a unit of Volvo Car AB, which says it will begin using Luminar’s technology to enable hands-free highway driving beginning in 2022.

Luminar received $406 million in cash from the “Blank Check” company and another $184 million from existing investors, who include venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Volvo and GoPro Inc. founder Nick Woodman. 

Russell engineered and made all major components of Luminar’s LiDAR system. Russel uses Luminar to its 7th generation Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design and a fully integrated technology stack. Luminar’s system, built from the ground up, delivered 50 times better resolution and 10 times farther range than competing devices.

Luminar competes with laser lidar makers like Velodyne and Aeva, which make high-tech sensors to help self-driving vehicles “see” their surroundings.

Net Worth

Russell’s 104.7 million shares, about a third of Luminar’s outstanding equity, was worth $2.4 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading on Thursday 3 December 2020.

The current Net Worth of Austin Russel is $2.7B


  • Under 35′ by MIT Technology Review in 2017.
  • Forbes named Russell to its ’30 under 30′ list for founding and leading Luminar in 2018.

Message from Austin Russel

“I always knew academia wasn’t going to be the right route for this,” he said. “Because if you really want to make a huge impact on the world, being stuck in a given lab is not the right way to do it. You have to be able to commercialize it … You have to make it economically viable.”

“I love learning useful material most of all; things that can be applied in the real world,” Russell said.