Who is Marc Tarpenning? Biography, Age, Wife, Martin Eberhard, Elon Musk and Twitter

Marc Tarpenning Biography

Marc Tarpenning is an American engineer and entrepreneur. He co-founded Tesla Inc. with Martin Eberhard in 2003. Marc had served as the Chief Financial Officer and subsequently the Vice President of Tesla until 2008

Marc Tarpenning Age

Tarpenning was born on June 1, 1964, Sacramento, CA. He is 55 years as of 2019.

Marc Tarpenning Wife

No information regarding his wife has been put to the public.

Marc Tarpenning Education

Tarpenning was born on June 1, 1964, in Sacramento, California. He later joined Berkeley University of California and graduated in 1985 with a B.S. in Computer Science.

Marc Tarpenning Career| Martin Eberhard| Elon Musk

Tarpenning spent several years working for Textron in Saudi Arabia after graduating from Berkeley. Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard established NuvoMedia in 1997, a company that constructed an early e-book in 1998, the RocketBook. In 2000, for $187 million, Gemstar – TV Guide International purchased NuvoMedia.

Marc and Martin Eberhard worked together again in 2003 and created Tesla Motors (now Tesla Inc.). The two co-founders financed the business until early 2004, when in February 2004 Elon Musk led the $7.5 million Series A funding round of the business and became the board chairman. Tarpenning continued to serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and later as Electrical Engineering Vice President in Tesla until 2008.

Tarpenning started to serve as an advisor or advisory board member of several businesses after leaving Tesla, including his alma mater (Skydeck project, UC Berkeley).

Marc Tarpenning Tesla Motors

He co-founded Tesla Inc. with Martin Eberhard in 2003.

Marc Tarpenning Worth

He has an estimated net worth of approximately 1.3 Billion

Why Did Marc Tarpenning Leave Tesla?

Out of the 5 founding members of Tesla motors, only two remain with the company; of course the now famous Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, Chairman and Product Architect, and JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. But the three expatriates; Marc Tarpenning, Martin Eberhard and Ian Wright, were instrumental to the founding of Tesla and although they left the car company, some in better terms than others, it is interesting to learn about what they are doing now. Unsurprisingly, most of them are still in the EV business.

Tesla was the brainchild of Martin Eberhard. Eberhard, an engineer, met Marc Tarpenning when he came to visit Wyse Technologies, where Eberhard worked. The pair became quick friends and often got together for dinner parties or to play Magic: The Gathering. They started doing consulting work together and eventually, in 1997, they founded a business, NuvoMedia, a company developing eBook readers. Three years later, they sold the company to Gemstar-TV Guide for $187 million.

A few years later, wanting to take advantage of developments in battery technology, they started Tesla Motors.

Ian Wright was the first to join Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard in their quest to create a great electric car without compromise. He was also the first to go. He left Tesla only one year after joining Marc and Martin. His main responsibility at Tesla was to manage the relationships with the two main partners of the company; Lotus Engineering and AC Propulsion.

Since leaving the company, Wright founded WrightSpeed. WrightSpeed develops and installs electric powertrains on trucks. The company aspires to rid the trucking and parcel industry of gas guzzling engines. 

The company is already supplying FedEx with electric powertrain retrofits. Wright also has his eyes on the garbage truck industry. He says that an average truck burns ~14,000 gallons of fuel per year for ~$55,000 and that WrightSpeed’s powertrains could save truck operators up to $35,000 per year for each vehicle.

Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning

Tarpenning and Eberhard left Tesla in January 2008 after Eberhard was ousted as CEO. The year before, Eberhard himself brought up the idea of finding a new CEO to manage the growing company and the board agreed. But after an unfruitful search for a replacement and more difficulties at Tesla, the board decided, without consulting Eberhard, to demote him and bring in an interim CEO, Michael Marks.

Both Eberhard and his friend Marc Tarpenning, who was VP of Electrical Engineering at the time, left the company. One more CEO later, Musk took over after having to lead yet another round of investment in the company and there began his reign as CEO of Tesla Motors.

Eberhard and Tarpenning went on to do consulting work and mentoring. In 2010, Eberhard was working on EVs for Volkswagen. More recently, the pair invested in BRD Motorcycles, which then changed its name to “Alta Motors“. The company is the maker of the “Redshift”, a fully electric motorcycle. Marc and Martin invested in their last round, which raised $4.5 million.

Also other Tesla alumni that weren’t founders, but were important contributors to the company at an early stage, are still active in the electric vehicle industry. Bernard Tse was Vice President and a board member at Tesla from 2003 to 2007. He went on to found Atieva in 2007.  The company is working on a “breakthrough electric vehicle”. They are still in stealth mode and not much is known about the company, but they are expected to reveal more details in the coming months.

Malcolm Powell was working for Lotus when Tesla approached the company to develop the Roadster. Six months later, he switched side and headed Tesla’s collaboration with the British car company. Powell became VP of vehicle engineering for Tesla, a position he held until 2008. He was part of the “old guard” under Eberhard’s tenure as CEO. Powell also went on to do consulting work in the EV industry. More recently consulting for Tevva Motors, a company developing electric range extended trucks.

Tesla Motors will be 12 years old this summer. During those 12 years, Tesla employed and are still employing a lot of talented people. Before Tesla, Musk founded Paypal and former Paypal employees and founders have since founded multiple successful companies such as LinkedIn, Youtube, Yelp and of course Tesla and SpaceX. These people are sometimes referred to by the affectionate nickname “Paypal Mafia“. I think Tesla might be on its way to eventually create the “Tesla Mafia”.

Tesla Co-Founder Marc Tarpenning Tells Definitive Story Of Company’s Beginnings

As any super-hero fan knows, a great origin story is worthy of retelling from time to time in slightly different versions. This new video isn’t the first time Marc Tarpenning has recounted the birth of Tesla (he and his erstwhile partner Martin Eberhard delivered a fascinating account in a speech at Stanford last October), but this is as concise and engaging a version as we’ve seen yet.

In fact, Mr. Tarpenning has perfected his delivery of the saga over the years. In this recent speech from the 2017 Product Leader Summit, he delivers a virtuoso performance: clear, succinct and entertaining, with visual aids (including some classic vintage photos) to help the narrative along. This one is well worth watching all the way through, even if you’re already familiar with the story.

Tarpenning and Eberhard didn’t set out to build electric cars per se, but rather to find the most efficient way to reduce oil consumption. They systematically considered every possible alternative fuel, from natural gas to biofuel to hydrogen. They also thought carefully about their target customers. Eberhard’s famous epiphany when he saw Toyota Prius hybrids parked next to Porsches in affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods led to the insight that they should build a performance vehicle for wealthy car buffs, not an energy-saving “dorkmobile” for impoverished greenies, as previous would-be EV-builders had done (here Tarpenning shows us some highly entertaining contemporary examples).

The Silicon Valley sage takes us through the process of raising money for the new enterprise (bringing Elon Musk on board along the way), and the long, complex process of designing and testing the Roadster (illustrated with some seldom-seen pix from Tesla’s legendary early production facilities). Problems with the transmission led to long delays, and almost sabotaged the whole undertaking, but the entrepreneurial engineers were saved in the nick of time by Moore’s Law. Fortunately, most of the early customers were true believers, and they were “incredibly enthusiastic.” Even though Tesla was a year and a half late delivering the car, only a couple canceled their reservations.

Shortly after the Roadster came into its own, and Tesla began shifting its focus to Model S, Tarpenning left the company. As he told me in a 2014 interview, he left on good terms – the reason that he moved on was that his main interest was in starting new companies, and having completed a successful IPO, Tesla was passing out of the startup phase.

Mr. Tarpenning concludes his presentation with a few words about disrupting old industries (these days, “old” might mean 10 years old) for fun and profit. It’s a timely topic, now that people are beginning to take seriously the possibility – unthinkable even a few years ago – that the auto industry will face a wave of disruption analogous to those that have swept through other industries (video rental, cameras, travel agents, books, music, movies, etc, etc).

Marc Tarpenning Twitter

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