Kyle Vogt, the president, CEO, and CTO of Cruise Automation has resigned amid controversy and questions over the safety of the company's automated vehicles. The resignation comes less than a month after the company's permit to operate public self-driving vehicles was suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles following an unfortunate accident involving a pedestrian.
Vogt's resignation came on Sunday night, November 19. The company's executive vice president of engineering, Mo Elshenawy will take over as the CTO, and the president of the company. Being the co-founder of Vogt along with being a co-founder of what later became Twitch, Vogt has amassed a considerable fortune. His net worth is estimated to be 270 million dollars.
Kyle Vogt is a co-founder of two billion-dollar companies
Kyle Vogt is a rather popular name in many business circles. The 38-year-old youngster had risen to fame after multiple successful ventures, a live-streaming service named Twitch, and a robotaxi company named Cruise LLC. He is estimated to have a net worth of $270 million.
Vogt's main source of income, as highlighted on his Forbes profile simply says "technology, Self Made". Kyle Vogt was placed at #7 in the Fortune 40 under 40 list in 2016. A year later, in 2017, Vogt made the Forbes 30 under 30 All Star Alumni list. He was also a contestant on two seasons of Battlebots.
Vogt left MIT in his junior year, to join up with the team that would go on to make Justin.tv, a live-streaming platform. Justin.tv's gaming section became a separate site called Twitch.tv and eventually, their parent company was rebranded into Twitch Interactive in 2014, and Justin.tv was subsequently shut down.
According to CNBC, Twitch would then go on to be acquired by Amazon for around $1 billion. At the moment the platform is worth $45 billion, according to Investing.com. And Kyle Vogt was a co-founder of Twitch in 2011. He was also a co-founder of Socialcam at the time, a mobile video service that was later acquired by Autodesk for $60 million.
Kyle Vogt left Twitch in 2013, and immediately after doing so, in October of the same year, he alongside Daniel Kan, launched Cruise Automation, a San-Francisco-based self-driving car company. 3 years later, in 2016 the company was acquired by General Motors (GM) and became its independent subsidiary. According to Fortune, GM acquired Cruise for over $1 billion.
Vogt was initially the president and CTO of the company but later also took over the position of CEO of the company after the departure of Dan Ammann.
Kyle Vogt steps down from Cruise Automation
On November 19th, Sunday, Kyle Vogt, co-founder, president, CEO, and CTO of Cruise Automation, announced his resignation. In a series of tweets, the former Cruise CEO explained the factors influencing his decision to step down. Reflecting on the past decade, Vogt characterized it as "amazing" and reminisced about the startup's humble beginnings in his garage, highlighting its achievement of providing "over 250,000 driverless rides" across various cities.
"Cruise is still just getting started, and I believe it has a great future ahead. The folks at Cruise are brilliant, driven, and resilient."
He was thrilled with what the company had planned for the future as he believed that Cruise had excellent product vision and a "solid, multi-year roadmap". "you’ve got this!" he told his former colleagues and asked them to recall why the work that they do mattered. He wrote:
"The status quo on our roads sucks, but together we’ve proven there is something far better around the corner."
He also revealed that he was going to spend time with his family and explore new ideas. Vogt's exit comes after the infamous October 2 accident where a pedestrian hit by a random vehicle was launched into the path of an oncoming Cruise AV, which then dragged her for around 20 feet, leaving her in critical condition for weeks. The incident took place in San Francisco.
Although the company had planned for an aggressive expansion of its product into 10 more cities by the end of 2023, the incident halted progress as its license to operate AVs in the city was suspended by the California DMV on October 24, in response to the October 2 accident.
Over 950 AVs were recalled for an update and all of the company's operations were stopped as it was waiting for the result of a review from independent experts. According to a company statement, these reviews would help "build a better Cruise centered around safety, transparency and trust".