Elon co-founded Tesla and continues to oversee the company's product strategy -- including the design, engineering and manufacturing of more and more affordable electric vehicles for mainstream consumers. As Chairman and Product Architect, he helped design the ground-breaking Tesla Roadster, for which he won an Index and a Global Green award, the latter presented by Mikhail Gorbachev. In October 2008, he took on the additional responsibility of CEO, overseeing daily operations as the company was ramping up Roadster production and accelerating the development of its second vehicle, the Model S.
Elon launched Tesla's regional sales and service centers across two continents and in May 2009 secured a $50 million investment and strategic partnership from Germany's Daimler. He spearheaded a successful cost-down program that enabled Tesla to achieve profitability in July 2009. He guides development of the Model S, the all-electric family sedan that will be produced in at the Tesla Factory in Northern California. The Tesla Factory will employ approximately 1,000 workers.
Elon has been fascinated by electric cars for two decades. After earning bachelor's degrees in physics and business from the University of Pennsylvania, he worked briefly on ultracapacitors at Pinnacle Research in Silicon Valley to understand their potential as an energy storage mechanism for EVs. He planned to do graduate studies at Stanford in materials science and applied physics but put school on hold to start Internet companies Zip2 and PayPal. In addition to his Tesla duties, he serves as CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and he's Chairman of SolarCity.
Brad W. Buss has been chief financial officer, corporate secretary and executive vice president of finance and administration at Cypress Semiconductor Corp. since August 2005. Brad directed Cypress's extremely successful IPO of its solar division SunPower in 2005 and the resulting spinoff of the remaining common shares to its shareholders in a very successful stock dividend in 2008. Before joining San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress, Brad was vice president of finance at semiconductor company Altera Corp., where he was active in all aspects of the business including forging alliances and guiding strategic direction for global supply chain and sales channel management.
Ira Ehrenpreis has been General Partner with Technology Partners since 1996. He leads the firm's Cleantech investment practice, investing in Energy Technology, Water Technology, and Advanced Materials opportunities.
Ira is a recognized leader in both the venture capital industry and the Cleantech sector, and in 2007, was named one of the "Top 50 Most Influential Men Under 45" by Details Magazine. In the venture community, Ira serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and on the Board of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists (WAVC). Ira serves as Chairman of the 2010 NVCA Annual Meeting. He is also the Co-Chairman of both the VCNetwork and the YVCA, two non-profit organizations comprising more than 1,000 venture capitalists. In the Cleantech sector, Ira has served on several industry Boards, including the Clean-Tech Investor Summit (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 Conference Chairman), Cleantech Venture Network (Past Chairman of Advisory Board), ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy), Energy Investors Forum (Past Conference Chairman), Energy Venture Fair, and California Climate Change Advisory Board. He has also served on the Advisory Boards of the Southern California Tech Coast Alliance, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), and the Comerica Venture Capital Advisory Board.
Ira is also an active leader at Stanford University, where his contributions have included teaching the course on Venture Capital and serving on the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School. Ira is also a Contributor to Nimmer on Copyright, the leading copyright treatise.
Ira received his JD/MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where he was an Associate Editor of Stanford Law Review. He holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. Summa Cum Laude.
Mr. Gracias serves as Valor's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Investment Committee. His duties include overall responsibility for the Firm's management, operations, and investing. These include but are not limited to: human resources, management of the Firm's board, raising capital, limited partner communication, deal generation, investment selection, investment strategy, investment committee management, transaction structuring, and portfolio company management and improvement.
Mr. Gracias has over 15 years experience investing in a variety of sectors including private equity, public equity, and real estate transactions. Mr. Gracias is Valor's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to founding Valor in 2001, Mr. Gracias served as Founder and Managing Member of MG Capital from 1995 through 2000. MG Capital was a private equity firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. As the lead transaction principal, Mr. Gracias sourced investments in nine middle market manufacturing companies where MG Capital played the role of lead equity sponsor. He also sourced three non-lead investments in a diverse set of industries. Mr. Gracias served as the Chief Executive Officer of MG Capital's electronic connector holdings, Connector Service Corporation. He managed the company through growth from $10 million to $125 million in revenue before exiting the investment in 2001. In addition, Mr. Gracias served as Chief Executive Officer of Industrial Powder Coatings, Inc., a $65 million revenue supplier to the auto parts and appliance sectors. Prior to MG Capital, Mr. Gracias was an Associate with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York where he served the firm's institutional clients in the International Equity Division.
Mr. Gracias is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Victoria Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Institute of Technology, a member of the Board of Directors of The Economic Club of Chicago, a Trustee of the Field Museum, and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Gracias received the 2008 Immigrant & Refugee Contributions Award for Entrepreneurial & Business Leadership from Changing Worlds, an educational arts non-profit organization. Mr. Gracias is a 2009 Henry Crown Fellow, an Aspen Institute program designed to engage the next generation of leaders in the challenge of community-spirited leadership. He is also a member of several Valor portfolio company boards.
Mr. Gracias holds a joint B.S. and M.S.F.S. (honors degree) in International Finance and Economics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He also studied corporate structures and economic development at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Prior to completing his Masters, Mr. Gracias returned to Japan as a Nikko Securities Fellow. Mr. Gracias holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Portuguese, and has a working knowledge of Japanese.
Steve Jurvetson is a managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a leading venture capital firm and one of the most active energy and clean tech investors, with affiliate offices around the world and $6 billion under management. Steve was the founding venture investor in Hotmail, Interwoven and Kana. He also led the firm's investments in Tradex and Cyras (acquired for $8 billion).
Previously, he was an R&D engineer at Hewlett-Packard, where seven of his communications chip designs were fabricated. His prior technical experience also includes programming, materials science research and computer design at HP, the Center for Materials Research, and Mostek. He has also worked in product marketing at Apple and NeXT.
At Stanford, he finished his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 2-and-a-half years and graduated No. 1 in his class. He also received a master's of science degree in electrical engineering and a master's of business administration from Stanford, and he served as president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists.
He was honored as "The Valley's Sharpest VC" on the cover of Business 2.0 and chosen by Forbes as one of "Tech's Best Venture Investors," by the VC Journal as one of the "Ten Most Influential VCs", and by Fortune as part of their "Brain Trust of Top Ten Minds."
Harald Kroeger is responsible for development of Electrics and Electronics of all Mercedes-Benz cars. In addition, as a vice president within Mercedes, he is the head of development for electric vehicles, electric motors, high voltage batteries and power electronics.
Before this assignment, Harald was head of quality management for Mercedes-Benz, managing quality in product design, product development, manufacturing, sales and after sales, as well as overall supplier quality management.
Harald started his career with Daimler-Benz in 1995 in research and development, working on radar technologies for vehicles. These systems are now part of the advanced cruise control systems and crash protection devices used in virtually all Mercedes vehicles.
After assignments in different Mercedes plants in South Africa and Germany, Harald was named as head of purchasing for electrics and electronics, with responsibility for more than $5 billion worth of purchased material, as well as managing the global purchasing alliance with Chrysler and Mitsubishi for all E/E components.
Before joining Mercedes, Harald worked for Philips AG in 1993 in research on electric motors, holding patents on foil motors.
Harald holds a Master of Science in Electrics/Electronics from Stanford University, a master of science in Control Engineering, and a bachelor in economics, both from University of Hannover, Germany. He is an alumni of the “Deutsche Studienstiftung” (supporting the top 1% of German students), the “Philips Preis” (given to the top 3 E/E students at selected German universities, the “Siemens Studentenkreis” (supporting the top engineering students at selected German universities) and the German academic exchange service (DAAD).
Kimbal Musk is CEO of Medium, Inc, an internet software company based in Boulder, Colo. Prior to Medium, he has been involved in many young businesses. Mr. Musk and his brother, Elon, started their first company, Zip2, an early content management company for the Internet, 1995. It was the first company to bring vector-based maps and door-to-door directions to the internet, and it built the online content management systems behind more than 100 media companies, including The New York Times. Zip2 was sold for $307 million in cash in 1999, one of the largest transactions of its kind in the internet industry.
Since then, he has helped found, advised, and invested in several exciting young companies. His prior and current board seats, in addition to Tesla Motors, are Medium, Inc., Everdream Corp., BlackBook Media, SpaceX Corp., and ProgressNow.org. He also owns The Kitchen, in Boulder, Colo, one of "America's Top Restaurants" as per Zagat, Gourmet, and the James Beard Foundation. Mr. Musk has served as an Adjunct Professor at New York University, and is a graduate of Queen's Business School in Canada and the French Culinary Institute in New York City.