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How Anthony Levandowski's Net Worth Fell to Negative $50 Million

Anthony Levandowski

Anthony Levandowski is a businessman and engineer popular for his involvement in self-driving vehicles. Although at one point, he was worth between $50 to $100 million, that has since changed. What is Anthony Levandowski net worth? He is worth -$50 million after he was ordered to pay Google $179 million and ended up filing for bankruptcy. In this article, we will be examining Levandowski's net worth and how he made that money.

Anthony Levandowski's Biography

Anthony Levandowski was born in March 1980 in Brussels, Belgium. From a young age, he showed interest in technology and robotics. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and earned both a bachelor's and master's degree.

As a freshman, Levandowski was a smart kid, launching an intranet service just from his basement. According to IEEE Spectrum, In 2004, he partnered with other UC Berkeley engineers and built a self-driving motorcycle that participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge. The motorcycle nicknamed Ghostrider can now be found in the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Institution.

After graduation, Levandowski joined Silicon Valley and worked for companies like Google and 3com. During his time at Google, he worked on Street View, Google Maps, and a driverless car project called Waymo. Levandowski has made a huge impact in the world of technology, which has earned him wealth and recognition.

Levandowski left Google in 2016 and started his company called Otto. Of course, his leaving Google wasn't without controversy. According to CNBC, it was alleged he stole intellectual property from Google. With that said, it's clear that his contribution and time at Google contributed to his net worth. Reports have found that Google paid Levandowski $120 million for his contribution to self-driving cars.

Levandowski's Involvement in Otto and Uber

In 2016, Uber acquired Levandowski's self-driving truck company called Otto. He served as the President and co-founder of Otto. However, Uber acquiring the company came with a lot of controversies as Levandowski was accused of stealing Google's trade secrets.

During his time at Google, Levandowski was put in charge of the company's autonomous driving project. It's, therefore, no surprise that he was at the center of this scandal. As Business Insider reports, eventually, Uber was forced to settle the case and not for a small amount. Also, Uber had to give up ownership of Otto. Nonetheless, all this controversy certainly impacted Levandowski's net worth.

Levandowski's Legal Troubles

Anthony Levandowski has faced quite a number of legal troubles since he started his career. As the New York Times reported, he was charged with 33 counts of theft in August 2020. Levandowski was also charged with attempted theft after his move to Uber from Google.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, he downloaded a ton of confidential files about Googgle's autonomous car project. It's alleged he used the files to help Uber also launch a self-driving car. This accusation led to a long battle that ended with a $179 million settlement between Waymo and Uber. However, the amount skyrocketed to $245 million after adding legal fees.

Following the settlement, Levandowski filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to negotiate his debts. He claimed that he had assets worth $50 to 100 million and liabilities worth $100 to 500 million.

In 2021, after signing a plea agreement with the U.S. government, Levandowski pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from Google. Prosecutors had to drop the other charges as part of the agreement. He was ordered to pay Alphabet $756,499.22 and was sentenced to 18 months. He was also fined $95,000. With such a ruling, his net worth took a hit.

In January 2021, President Donald Trump pardoned Levandowski and 72 other convicts on his last official day. In fact, according to the Verge, Levandowski was yet to start serving his sentence when he was pardoned. His sentencing had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Levandowski's Personal Life

Just like his career, Levandowski's personal life has also faced many troubles. Amidst the Google legal battle, it's alleged that Levandowski was found to have had an extramarital affair with his colleague. The affair caused a scandal at Google which may have contributed to his leaving the company.

Currently, Levandowski is married and has two children. The couple lives in California, but not much of their personal life is known to the public.

Has Levandowski Formed Other Companies?

During and after leaving Google, Levandowski formed several companies. Among them is the Way of the Future (WOTF) Ventures, which is more of a religion than a profit-based company. The religious organization, which according to TechCrunch, shut down, was based on an artificial intelligence gospel. That's not surprising, considering his career has been technology-based.

The church's mission was to develop an "AI Godhead," which is quite controversial considering that science and religion don't always see eye to eye. WoTF Ventures was formed to develop and push for an AI Godhead and contribute to a better society through the worship and understanding of the Godhead.

The religion also aimed at seeking and building relationships with leaders in the AI industry. Levandowski's goal was to create a membership community that targeted AI professionals and anyone interested in worshiping an AI Godhead.

Unfortunately, the church was shut down at the end of 2020, although that process had started as early as June. The church funds, about $175,172, were donated to the Legal Defense Fund under the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

According to Levandowski, he had been considering closing the church even before donating. The Black Lives Matter movement, which was gaining momentum at that time following the death of George Floyd, influenced Levandowski's decision to donate the funds to the NAACP. He said it was only right to put the funds into something that could immediately impact society.

The church sparked both controversy and interest, just like Levandowski. It wasn't just because of what the church stood for, but also because of the time it started. He started the organization when he was involved in a serious dispute with Google, his former employer. More than that, he was the central figure in the lawsuit between Waymo and Uber. People speculated whether he was trying to hide something in the church. But with the closure of the church, we might never know.

How Did Anthony Levandowski Make So Much Money?

Anthony has made the most of his money from his tech career. As a co-founder of Otto, a self-driving truck company, Levandowski made a huge amount of money from selling the company. Uber acquired the company for $680 million, contributing to Levandowski's net worth.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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