- Austin Russell is the youngest self-made billionaire on Forbes’ 2021 list of world billionaires.
- The 26-year-old runs a company that provides the technology for self-driving cars.
- Russell replaced Kylie Jenner, who was removed in 2020.
- Check out more stories on the Insider company page.
Austin Russell, 26, is the youngest self-made billionaire on Forbes’ annual list of billionaires in the world, released Tuesday.
Russell became a billionaire virtually overnight in December when his company, Luminar Technologies, went through a
merger. Forbes estimated Russell’s net worth at $ 2.4 billion.
Russell received a $ 100,000 grant from billionaire investor Peter Thiel in 2012 and left Stanford to found Luminar Technologies, which builds sensors for autonomous vehicles.
The company’s sensors have been used to make self-driving cars at companies such as Volvo and Toyota. Luminar’s technology is based on lidar, which uses pulses of light to create a 3D map of a car’s surroundings, helping it determine the best course and avoid obstacles.
In 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the technology “doomed”. Instead of lidar – which has become popular with auto companies, including Alphabet’s Waymo – Tesla relies on external cameras for its “Full Self-Driving” software.
Russell replaced Kylie Jenner on the list after Forbes’ removed her last May, saying her net worth was overrated in the documents she provided.
“What even wakes me up,” she said wrote in a tweet respond to Forbes’ decision. “I thought this was a reputable site .. I just see some inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. I never asked for a title or ever tried to lie there. Period.”
Jenner was on the cover of Forbes in 2018 as one of the richest homemade women in the US. That led to backlash, as some people wondered if she was really ‘self-made’ because of her family’s wealth.
Russell is one of four self-made billionaires on Forbes’ 2021 list in his 20s; the others are DoorDash founders Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, and crypto investor Sam Bankman-Fried. All four are new additions to the list.
There were several developments in this year’s list as COVID-19 shook the economy. Former President Donald Trump dropped 298 places in the Forbes rankings. Bloomberg estimates that Trump’s net worth fell by $ 700 million during his presidency.
The youngest billionaire on the Forbes list was Kevin David Lehmann, 18, a $ 3.3 billion German drugstore heir.
Read the full list on the Forbes site.