- Austin Russell is the youngest self-made billionaire on Forbes’ list of world billionaires in 2021.
- The 26-year-old runs a company that supplies the technology for self-driving cars.
- Russell replaced Kylie Jenner, who was removed in 2020.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Austin Russell, 26, is the youngest self-made billionaire on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s billionaires released on Tuesday.
Russell became a billionaire almost overnight in December when his company, Luminar Technologies, was listed on Nasdaq via a
fusion. Forbes estimated Russell̵
Russell received a $ 100,000 scholarship from billionaire investor Peter Thiel in 2012 and dropped out of Stanford to found Luminar Technologies, which builds sensors for autonomous vehicles.
The company’s sensors have been used to create self-driving cars at companies such as Volvo and Toyota. Luminar’s technology relies on lidar, which uses light pulses to create a 3D map of a car’s environment so it can 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 the automotive industry, including the Waymo of the Alphabet – Tesla relies on external cameras for its “Full Self-Driving” software.
Russell replaced Kylie Jenner on the list after Forbes’ removed her in May, saying her net worth had been overestimated in the documents she provided.
“What am I even waking up to,” she wrote in a tweet in response to Forbes’ decision. “I thought this was a reputable place .. all I see are a number of inaccurate statements and untested assumptions lol. I have never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there ever. Period.”
Jenner was on the cover of Forbes in 2018 as one of the richest self-made women in the United States. It triggered a setback when some people questioned whether she was really “self-made” because of her family’s wealth.
Russell is one of four self-made billionaires on Forbes’ 2021 list who are in their 20s; the others are the founders of DoorDash, Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, and the crypto investor Sam Bankman-Fried. All four are new additions to the list.
There were several developments on this year’s list as COVID-19 shook the economy. Former President Donald Trump dropped 298 places in Forbes’ rankings. Bloomberg has estimated that Trump’s net worth fell by $ 700 million during his presidency.
The youngest billionaire on Forbes’ list was Kevin David Lehmann, 18, a German pharmacist worth $ 3.3 billion.
Read the full list on Forbes’ page.