Tesla isn’t the only upstart auto industry player having a big year.
Luminar, which creates lidar technology critical to many automakers’ autonomous driving efforts, is going public on Thursday through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and the deal will make Luminar co-founder and CEO Austin Russell a billionaire — at the age of 25.
Russell, who founded the company as a 17-year-old high school student, said the feeling of becoming a billionaire (on paper, at least) is “absolutely incredible” and “totally surreal.”
But the Luminar CEO said it also follows the plan his company has had in mind since founding. “It is totally surreal and it totally makes sense and it is hard to explain the dichotomy of it, but this has always been the goal,” he said. “We set up the company to be a long-term sustainable business and power the future of autonomy for all of these automakers. We are in it for the long-term,” Russell told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday morning.