Austin Russell is running with a lot of momentum.
The 28-year-old founder and CEO LuminarThe company, which develops vision-based lidar and machine recognition technology primarily for self-driving cars, said. wall street journal Earlier today, he announced that he would purchase an 82% stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings in a transaction valued at nearly $800 million.
According to the WSJ, Russell’s stake also includes the remainder owned by a family of the same name, and Russell acquired 95% of the company in 2014 through Hong Kong-based investor group Integrated Whale Group. sold to the media. From that point on, Forbes magazine was effectively sold. The company canceled a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company in June last year after markets faltered and investors lost interest in SPACs.
Luminar itself had better timing.It was published via Merger of SPACs In 2021, retail investors still wanted shares in mobility technology companies.By the time Forbes canceled his own SPAC plans, nearly all mobility SPACs trade with the offer price.
Luminar has not been immune to the wider recession. When it first appeared on Wall Street, it was valued at $3.4 billion, but today it’s worth about $2 billion.
It was reported three days ago that a bit Losses were bigger than expected.
Some individual investors may not be very happy with its performance. But Russell told the Silicon Valley Business Journal. last year Given the capital Luminar has secured through this process, money that would not otherwise have been available as private market investors began to snap their checkbooks, I have no regrets about the SPAC maneuver. said.
Luminar’s long-term shareholders, on the other hand, will be announced in 2021 by Forbes itself. World’s youngest self-made millionaireDespite the prevalence of running multiple companies at once (Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey) or running your own media company and becoming a millionaire (Jeff), his attention will soon be on the rise. will be directed elsewhere. Bezos, Lauren Powell Jobs, Patrick Soonshion, Marc Benioff).
Also, it can be confusing. Certainly, at a time when so many companies are fighting to buy a media company, they’re probably not the only ones questioning the wisdom of buying a media company. stay relevant In the midst of a foggy landscape, when advertising budgets are being hit hard by accelerated withdrawals by advertisers.
Again, Russell has been focused on Luminar since 2012, when he dropped out of Stanford University to start the company with the help of a $100,000 grant from prominent investor Peter Thiel. rice field. (The Thiel Fellowship Program, established in 2011, states:sitting in the classroom. ”)
Russell has enjoyed the fruits of that work in the years since. He bought the $83 million Los Angeles spread in 2021 and has since been featured on the popular show Succession. He also reportedly paid an additional $10.6 million for a 13,000-square-foot mansion in Winter Park, Fla., near Luminar’s Orlando headquarters.
But after spending his entire career focused on Luminar, he may be looking to expand how he invests his time.
as Paul Graham from Y Combinator once saidespecially expressed his aversion to funding young founders, the worst thing that can happen to a person is their startup quickly succeed.
“[I]For example, once you start a successful startup, life’s carefree days are over. You work for that company, right? ”
“Forbes has always been something I looked up to as a brand and as a media empire,” Russell succinctly said in a statement to the WSJ. He also said he would not be involved in the day-to-day operations of Forbes, but would like to grow the organization and focus on “philanthropy” within the industry.
TechCrunch reached out to Russell a while back. We hope to hear more about this move in the near future.
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