I'm a university dropout & my side hustle made me the world's youngest self-made billionaire…college isn't for everyone | The Sun

A UNIVERSITY dropout who quit his studies to begin a tech side hustle went on to become the world's youngest self-made billionaire – and recommends other young entrepreneurs do the same.

Austin Russell, 28, began his company Luminar Technologies in 2012 after securing a $100,000 (£80,000) startup cash boost – and his company is now worth an astounding £2billion.

And his advice to any young person wanting to follow in his footsteps is to ditch trying for a degree – as it's how he found his success.

Speaking to CNBC, determined Austin said: "College is not for everyone.

"It's sort of the traditional approach around what you do and what you're supposed to do.

"All this information is available at our fingertips now online.


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"This is not something that was true 50 years ago, but it totally is true now."

Austin came up with the idea for his successful company when he was still studying at Stanford.

Luminar develops laser radar sensor technology for self driving cars, which were only beginning when Austin left university in 2012.

Austin dropped out after receiving a grant from tech titan and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel to kick start his side hustle into a full blown business.

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He became a billionaire almost overnight after Luminar was listed on the stock market in December 2020.

Despite his luck with the grant, he said he still recommends anyone drop out of university.

And he insists he would have still ditched higher education if he didn't receive his startup cash, saying: "If you’re wondering if I would have dropped out [without the grant], yeah. Absolutely.

"There was no doubt in anyone’s mind.

"It was going to happen anyway."

But the key to turning his side hustle into a billion pound business is one thing: initative.

Austin explained: "You have to have the drive to do it. And particularly as an entrepreneur, there is no one that will be holding your hand along the way.

"You are directly accountable for at least all the things that are in your control, like what you do, what milestones you meet and what kind of product you ultimately deliver to the world.

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"I’ve been very fortunate and thankful to see great success at still a very early age."

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