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 is produced at the Tesla Factory in Northern California.
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 served as a director since 2009. He retired as the Chief Financial Officer of SolarCity Corporation in February 2016 and prior to that role served as the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation from 2005 to 2014. Mr. Buss also held prior financial leadership roles with Altera Corporation, Veba Electronics LLC and Wyle Electronics, Inc. Mr. Buss also serves as a director for Advance Auto Parts, Inc. and Cavium, Inc. Mr. Buss was born in Canada and holds a B.A. in economics from McMaster University and an honors business administration degree, majoring in finance and accounting, from the University of Windsor.
Robyn M. Denholm has served as a director since August 2014. Since January 2017, Ms. Denholm has been Chief Operations Officer of Telstra Corporation Limited, a telecommunications company. Prior to Telstra, from August 2007 to February 2016, Ms. Denholm was with Juniper Networks, Inc., a manufacturer of networking equipment (“Juniper”), serving first as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and then as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Operations Officer. Prior to joining Juniper, Ms. Denholm served in various executive roles at Sun Microsystems, Inc. from January 1996 to August 2007. Ms. Denholm also served at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia for seven years and at Arthur Andersen & Company for five years in various finance assignments. From April 2016 until April 2017, Ms. Denholm was also a director of ABB Ltd. Ms. Denholm is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Sydney and a Master’s degree in Commerce from the University of New South Wales.
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."
James Murdoch has served as a director since 2017. Mr. Murdoch is currently Chief Executive Officer of 21st Century Fox (21CF). Before becoming CEO of 21CF in 2015, Mr. Murdoch held a number of leadership roles at the company over a two-decade career. He previously served as its Co-Chief Operating Officer, Chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia, as well as Chairman of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia, the businesses that now comprise Sky plc. He also served as CEO of BSkyB and STAR, India’s entertainment leader. In addition to being a key driver of 21CF’s domestic and international expansion, Mr. Murdoch has been instrumental in the company’s robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability. James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, are founders of a family foundation, Quadrivium, which supports initiatives involving natural resources, science, civic life, childhood health, and equal opportunity.
Kimbal Musk is Co-Founder of The Kitchen, a growing family of businesses that pursues an America where everyone has access to real food. Kimbal is a 2017 Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation, a sister organization to the World Economic Forum, for his impactful, scalable work to bring Real Food to Everyone.
His family of restaurant concepts serve real food at every price point. They source food from American farmers, stimulating the local farm economy to the tune of millions of dollars a year. His non-profit organization builds permanent, outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in underserved schools around the U.S. reaching over 125,000 students everyday. His urban, indoor vertical farming accelerator, seeks to empower thousands of young entrepreneurs to become real food farmers.
Linda Johnson Rice has served as a director since 2017. Ms. Rice is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC). In addition to her role as Chairman and CEO of JPC and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Ms. Rice is CEO of Ebony Media Operations and Chairman Emeritus of EBONY Media Holdings, the parent company for the EBONY and Jet brands. Ms. Rice has extensive corporate board experience, having previously served on the boards of a number of companies across a variety of industries, including Bausch & Lomb, Continental Bank, Quaker Oats, Dial Corporation, MoneyGram and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and currently serving on the boards of Omnicom Group and Grubhub. Ms. Rice is a Trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, President of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors, Council Member of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and board member of After School Matters and Northwestern Memorial Corporation.