The Tesla Mafia

July 21, 2023
Tech Mafias

Company "mafias" are all the rage, and we here at PIN love to dig deep into the most influential Tech Mafias, especially since we're huge on democratizing access to startup investing by supporting communities with all the legal and bureaucratic work when it comes to setting up a community investment club.

This week's edition is an ode to none other than the man that is a symbol of technology and innovation - Elon Musk aka Tesla. We take a look at 25 successful companies founded by previous engineers and executives of Tesla.

If you missed our previous posts, make sure to check the Twitter Mafia, Lyft Mafia, Stripe Mafia, Netflix Mafia, InstaCart Mafia, Dropbox Mafia, and Revolut Mafia articles. Investing in fellow coworkers' startups, especially as a community or alumni group, is one of the best ways to get in early on deals as well as support the ideas and ventures of people you love and admire. Who knows what's around the corner in your own network and community!

Companies Covered: 

  • Uplift Labs
  • Aurora
  • Sila Nanotechnologies
  • Lucid Motors
  • Redwood Materials
  • Tekion Corp
  • Faraday Future
  • Span
  • Wallbox Chargers
  • Reliable Robots Corporation
  • FabFitFun
  • Juno
  • Substack
  • NorthVolt AB
  • Ramper
  • SwingVision
  • Aigen
  • MitraChem
  • Boxbot
  • Mainspring Energy
  • Swell Energy
  • Hgen
  • Colossus


Founder: Sterling Anderson
Tesla Role: Director of Autopilot Programs
Capital Raised: $2.1B
Investors: Index Ventures
Stage: Public

Sterling Anderson is the co-founder & chief product officer at Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company providing a platform that brings software and data services to operate passenger vehicles. He was the Director of Autopilot Programs at Tesla.

Sila Nanotechnologies

Founder: Gene Berdichevsky
Tesla Role: Tech Lead/ Battery Systems Architect
Capital Raised: $980.5M
Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners
Stage: Series F

As an ex Tech Lead/ Battery Systems Architect at Tesla, it makes sense Gene Berdichevsky is the co-founder and CEO at Sila Nanotechnologies, a provider and manufacturer of higher energy density lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Swell Energy

Founder: Suleman Khan
Tesla Role: Stationary Energy Storage
Capital Raised: $582M
Investors: SoftBank Vision Fund
Stage: Series B

Suleman is the CEO of Swell Energy, a home energy company that provides smart grid and energy management solutions for homeowners and businesses. He used to work in Stationary Energy Storage at Tesla.


Founder: Hamish McKenzie
Tesla Role: Lead Writer
Capital Raised: $82.4M
Investors: Y Combinator
Stage: Series B

Hamish is the co-founder of Substack, a subscription-based newsletter publishing platform for independent writers. He was the Lead Writer at Tesla.

Lucid Motors

Founder: Peter Rawlinson
Tesla Role: Vice President & Chief Engineer
Capital Raised: $8.3B
Investors: Venrock
Stage: Public

Peter Rawlinson is the CEO and CTO at Lucid Motors, an automotive company that specializes in electric cars. Peter used to be vice president & chief engineer for Model S at Tesla.

Redwood Materials

Founder: JB Straubel
Tesla Role: Co-Founder & CTO
Capital Raised: $2.8B
Investors: T. Row Price
Stage: Series C

JB Straubel was the co-founder and CTO at Tesla, he later on co-founded Redwood Materials, a battery recycling startup that makes electric vehicles and sustainable materials for circular supply chains.

Tekion Corp

Founder: Jay Vijayan & Guru Sanakararaman
Tesla Role: Business Operation & VP of IT
Capital Raised: $435.1M
Investors: Index Ventures
Stage: Series D

Jay is the founder & CEO of Tekion while Guru is the co-founder, CFO and SVP of Operations at Tekion, a software development company that develops business applications on the cloud.

Faraday Future

Founder: Nick Sampson
Tesla Role: Director Vehicle & Chassis Engineering
Capital Raised: $3.9B
Investors: ATW Partners
Stage: Public

Nick is the co-founder and Senior VP of Product Strategy at Faraday Future which creates a shared intelligent mobility ecosystem to produce new energy, AI, Internet, and sharing models. He was in charge of Chassis Engineering at Tesla.

Founder: Arch Rao
Tesla Role: Tesla Energy - Head of Products, Application & Sales Engineering
Capital Raised: $133.8M
Investors: Fifth Wall Ventures
Stage: Series B

Arch is the Founder & CEO at Span which develops residential energy storage devices that provide renewable electricity and charging services for electric vehicles.

Wallbox Chargers

Founder: Enric Asuncion
Tesla Role: Program Manager Charging Installations
Capital Raised: $167.5M
Investors: Luxor Capital Group
Stage: Public

Enric is the CEO at Wallbox Charger, a company which designs, develops, and manufactures intelligent energy solutions. He was the Program Manager Charging Installations at Tesla.

Reliable Robotics

Founder: Robert Rose
Tesla Role: Senior Director of Autopilot & UI
Capital Raised: $133.5M
Investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners
Stage: Series C

Robert is the co-founder / CEO at Reliable Robotics Corporation, a company expanding access to more places with automated aviation. He was the Senior Director of Autopilot & UI at Tesla.


Founder: Sam Teller
Tesla Role: Director, Office of the CEO
Capital Raised: $262.1M
Investors: Thrive Capital
Stage: Series A

Sam is the co-founder at FabFitFun which offers subscription services that allow its members to discover brands and products.

Sight Machine

Founder: Jon Sobel
Tesla Role: General Counsel & Secretary
Capital Raised: $80.4M
Investors: IA Ventures
Stage: Series C

Jon is the co-founder and CEO at Sight Machine, a company that provides an analytics platform that helps address critical challenges in quality and productivity throughout the enterprise. He was the General Counsel & Secretary at Tesla.


Founder: Chester Chipperfield
Tesla Role: Global Creative Director
Capital Raised: $31.3M
Investors: Canaan Partners
Stage: Series A

Chester is the co-founder and advisor at Juno, a company that develops apartment buildings intended to offer environmentally friendly and speedy housing alternatives. He was the Global Creative Director at Tesla.

NorthVolt AB

Founder: Paolo Cerruti
Tesla Role: VP Global Supply Chain and Operations Planning
Capital Raised: $7.1B
Investors: Goldman Sachs
Stage: Series B

Paolo is the co-founder of Northvolt, a lithium-ion battery manufacturing company that focuses on providing eco-friendly batteries.

Mitra Chem

Founder: Vivas Kumar
Tesla Role: Program Supply Chain
Capital Raised: $20M
Investors: Social Capital
Stage: Series A

CEO and co-founder at Mitra Chem, a lithium-ion battery materials manufacturing company. Vivas was previously the Battery Supply Chain Manager at Tesla.


Founder: Austin Oehlerking
Tesla Role: Senior Software Engineer, Team Lead
Capital Raised: $17.5M
Investors: Pear VC
Stage: Series A

Austin is the founder & CEO at BoxBot, a company building automation systems for parcel delivery that transform last mile logistics. He was the Senior Software Engineer and Team Lead at Tesla.

Mainspring Energy

Founder: Shannon Miller
Tesla Role: Mechanical Engineer
Capital Raised: $468M
Investors: Bill Gates
Stage: Series E

Shannon is the CEO and founder at Mainspring Energy, a company accelerating the transition to the affordable, reliable, net-zero carbon grid of the future.


Founder: Walid Halty
Tesla Role: Senior District Manager
Capital Raised: $41M
Investors: Capital Creek Ventures
Stage: Series A

Walid is the co-founder at Colossus, a marketplace that delivers solar leads. He was the Senior District Manager at Tesla.

Rising Stars


Founder: Molly Yang
Tesla Role: Senior Product Manager
Capital Raised: $2M
Investors: Founders Fund
Stage: Seed

Molly Yang is the co-founder and CEO at Hgen, a company that provides affordable green hydrogen for deep decarbonization. She was the Senior Product Manager at Tesla.


Founder: Sisun Lee
Tesla Role: Staff Product Manager, Growth
Capital Raised: $3M
Investors: Golden Ventures
Stage: Seed Round

Sisun is the co-founder at Ramper, a company which onboards users instantly onto web3 without any crypto background. He worked as the Staff Product Manager at Tesla prior to starting his own company.


Founder: Swupnil Sahai
Tesla Role: Sr. Computer Vision Engineer, Autopilot AI
Capital Raised: $3M
Investors: Techstars
Stage: Seed Round

Swupnil is the CEO at SwingVision, a company that gives automated stats, highlights & officiating, using just your iPhone. He was the Sr. Computer Vision Engineer at Tesla.

UpLift Labs

Founder: Sukemasa Kabayama
Tesla Role: President and Representative Officer
Capital Raised: $8.5M
Investors: Jason Calacanis
Stage: Seed

Sukemasa Kabayama is the co-founder and CEO of Uplift Labs which digitizes human movement to improve athletic performance while mitigating injuries for in-person and live remote training. He used to work as a President & Representative Officer in Japan at Tesla.

Return Protocol

Founder: Kieran White
Tesla Role: Projects Coordinator - UK
Capital Raised: $2.5M
Investors: Slow Ventures
Stage: Pre-Seed

Kieran is the co-founder & CEO at Return Protocol which empowers any consumer, business or community to take transparent and value aligned climate action. At Tesla, he was the Projects Coordinator in the UK.


Founder: Rich Wurden
Tesla Role: Senior Mechanical Engineer
Capital Raised: $7M
Investors: Global Founders Capital

Rich is the co-founder of Aigen, a company on a mission to unlock regenerative agriculture at a planetary scale. He was a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Tesla.

Join our waitlist
Love what we do? Give us a follow on: