Luminar CEO shares how his company’s growth sets up Orlando for future tech success (by Alex Soderstrom)

When Luminar Technologies Inc. put down roots in Orlando a decade ago, the company’s leadership was betting that a tech firm partially based in Central Florida could go “toe-to-toe” with companies built entirely in Silicon Valley, founder and CEO Austin Russell told Orlando Inno.

So far, the autonomous vehicle sensor firm’s bet has paid off.

Last year, the firm’s first full year as a publicly-traded company, was a big one for Orlando-based Luminar (Nasdaq: LAZR). It doubled its workforce and surpassed the 400-employee mark in Orlando. Plus, Russell made a $70 million contribution to local nonprofit the Central Florida Foundation to reinvest in the Orlando community.

Meanwhile, Luminar’s growth is having a “snowball effect” in Orlando, setting up the region’s technology sector for more growth, Russell said. Luminar not only is creating new jobs, but it’s also bringing a wide range of high-level tech to Central Florida.