Facebook Made This 29-Year-Old Rich; War Made Him A Billionaire
After being drummed out of Silicon Valley as a Trump-supporting hawk, the onetime VR wunderkind Palmer Luckey is feeling vindicated. His $8 billion defense tech startup, Anduril, is arming Ukraine and building the weapons of the future—before the Pentagon even knows it wants them.
It’s an overcast 60-degree spring day at Anduril Industries’ test range in the drought-parched hills of Southern California, but while the weather is a tad chilly for humans, it’s perfect for surveillance. “The seeing” is good, explains Palmer Luckey, Anduril’s billionaire co-founder, who made his first fortune selling his virtual reality startup, Oculus VR, to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. Cool temperatures mean little thermal distortion, which makes it easier for Anduril’s sentry towers to spot immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The self-taught tech prodigy—who will turn 30 in September and transition from whiz kid to “whiz man,” he jokes—cues his engineers to…