Luminar’s Austin Russell Expands into Media with Acquisition of Forbes

Automotive technology company Luminar Technologies’ CEO, 28-year-old Austin Russell, has acquired an 82% stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings, the publisher of Forbes magazine, in a deal valued at nearly $800m. This acquisition also includes the remaining portion of the company owned by the Forbes family. 

However, Integrated Whale Media Investments, a Hong Kong-based investor group that purchased a 95% stake in the company from the Forbes family in 2014, will still retain a minority stake. The purchase gives Russell control over the influential business media brand, with plans to act as a visionary for the Forbes brand, but he won’t be involved in day-to-day operations.

Luminar Technologies, Russell’s autonomous vehicle company, has a market cap of $2.1bn. Over the past decade, the company has built an advanced hardware and software platform to enable its more than 50 industry partners, including major automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company is now poised to be the first automotive technology company to enable next-generation safety and autonomous capabilities for production vehicles.

Luminar’s latest financial results show that the company is experiencing rapid growth. The company exceeded its revenue guidance in Q1 2023, posting revenue of $14.5m, up 112% YoY, and expects at least 100% revenue growth in 2023. The company maintains a strong balance sheet for accelerating business growth and reaching positive cash flow.

Russell’s purchase of Forbes indicates his interest in expanding his investments beyond automotive technology. As part of the deal, Forbes plans to appoint a new board with US media, technology and artificial intelligence (AI) experts, with Integrated Whale retaining one board seat. The acquisition marks a significant change for Forbes, which the Forbes family has owned for over a century.

Austin Russell’s Journey

Austin Russell is a remarkable entrepreneur who has made waves in the technology industry. Born in Newport Beach, California in 1995, Russell displayed a natural talent for science at a young age. At just 16 years old, he began studying physics at Stanford University. However, he dropped out in 2012 to pursue his passion for technology and founded Luminar Technologies. This was a pivotal decision that has led to great success for Russell and his company.

Luminar Technologies is a cutting-edge firm that specializes in developing lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles. The company made headlines in December 2020 when it went public, and Russell, at just 25 years old, became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. This achievement is a testament to his incredible vision and determination.

Russell is a member of both the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Thiel Fellowship. He has also been recognized for his achievements by being named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list and Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list. His incredible success at such a young age is a testament to his intelligence, entrepreneurial spirit, and drive to make a difference in the world.