Accelerated with Vitaly Golomb

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E10 | Season 2 - Mate Rimac (Bugatti-Rimac - CEO)

by Vitaly M. Golomb
September 14th 2021
A very special episode with Mate, the 33 year old Croatian founder and CEO of his namesake, high performance EV company Rimac – maker of the world’s fastest production car. In July, Rimac and Porsche,... More
Welcome to Accelerated. I'm your host Vitaly Golomb On this season of the podcast, we're hearing from some of the global leaders in everything electric and autonomous moving as quickly into the future. This is an episode I'm particularly excited to share with you because I reconnected with none other than Mate Rimac, the 33 year old Croatian founder and CEO of his namesake company, Rimac maker of the world's fastest car. I had the pleasure to know Mate for almost a decade. I advised the company for several years and helped raise its first substantial financing round and have to tell you it's been fun to watch Rimac grow into its industry dominating role in high performance EV technology In July Rimac and their investors Porsche announced that the Volkswagen group will be moving the 112 year old legendary Bugatti brand into a new joint venture ran by Mate. This was an absolute earthquake in the automotive industry. We had an honest conversation about the difficult years the very young team went through getting the company off the ground with zero experience and no automotive industry in the country of Croatia. The company's unique spin on autonomy and even Mate's views on SPACs and much much more.

Thanks for making the time. I know you're been an extraordinary busy person this year with all the news congrats on that it's been breathtaking to watch the rise and I never had any doubts, but I'm sure it's been quite difficult at times. We've known each other since that red concept one nine years ago. Almost exactly. I think that it was September of 2012, when we first met, when we brought that group over, it's been some time. And we've had some adventures since, so very, very great to to watch you and congrats on the new announcement. We'll talk about that in a second, as far as Bugatti and everything else. But congrats on your wedding as well. We're both married to Kates. So I'd like, I always like to start at the beginning to give some context to people that are listening, trying to get inspired can you talk a little bit about how you grew up in Croatia you moved around and it wasn't quite as nice of a place to grow up in Croatia in the whole region when you were growing up in the 90s.

Yeah, I think, you know, it's uh what you're used to, I didn't know better. So it was a good child within the end. But if you look at it like when you tell the story, it sounds like, you know, like a huge drama, but it didn't feel that way. So, so basically I was born in what is today, Bosnia at that time, it was Yugoslavia and the boston today is the poorest country in europe and where I'm from is like the, let's say at least developed part of Bosnia. So it was really like you know even when you go there today, it feels like a developed country like three decades ago or maybe even longer like five decades ago. So at that time you know there was barely any roads, no cars, electricity was not really never home. People are living off, you know farming this kind of stuff. And then when I was three years old the war started and my parents decided to move to Germany kind of more I would say is economic refugees than really war refugees. Although the village um from was it?

And I spent 10 years there and you know my parents tell me stories that I was already as a as a baby. Crazy about cars. They don't have like my parents have nothing to do with cars but for some reason I was just crazy about it all my life And not having cars around me in Bosnia. You know every car I would just go crazy when I would see it. And then coming to Germany all of a sudden you have a bunch of cars in a beautiful cars, lots of beautiful cars. So that's uh you know some memory that I still remember and then 10 years later we moved back to Croatia. Which wasn't easy as well. Yeah I mean that's uh that's quite an adventure. My family also went through uh we were we were refugees from soviet Union at that point to the U. S. So we share that similar story and I know it's it's uh it's a really difficult thing that some people go through and it's uh it makes them stronger obviously. And there's a lot of people going through that right now. So we'll see what next generation brings from people that going through the experience. So how did you get into technology? I mean you you were I know you were young inventor and in high school you're you've got a little bit famous inspiration as well.

Talk a little bit about that. So I was just crazy about cars all my life and wanted to do it anything with cars since when I was a good so whatever that what's going to be driver, like a race car driver or a designer or an engineer or anything like that. So I was always like pursuing that path and you know reading every magazine I could get my hands on and growing up in Germany there were lots of these like uh the car shows on on the Internet sorry on the television at that time, not only Burnett that was like in 90s and uh you know that's Was let's say further making me addicted to cars. And then when he moved back to Croatia after uh like elementary school after the 8th grade you have to choose like uh some kind of career path and I choose mechatronics because it was the closest to electro closest to cars because it combined electronics and mechanics and as a graduation project you have to build something physical and usually people were doing like struggle scope or an empty fire because you could just buy the kids and put it together like shoulder a little bit But I just a school project did like a glove that replaces the keyboard and mouse.

So there was like in 2004 2005 because I believe that uh devices will be connected to the internet like television and stuff like that and you don't want to use your keyboard and mouse to type on them. Seven months before the iphone before test trees were really thinking and I built this just just a school project by but my professor liked it so he sent me to like local competition for electronic generation and I didn't really want to go and I didn't have any hopes because it wasn't great student but I did it for my professor and surprisingly I want that and then they sent me to the national level which I want as well and then they sent me all around the world to represent creation on these competitions and I thought especially there I didn't have any chances because of all the international competition but I came always back with golden silver medals so I was better than I expected and I was always doing something in my garage building like a motorcycle or welding something just doing various stuff.

When I was 17, I had two buttons and a bunch of these awards. And then as soon as I was 18, I always wanted to do racing. I bought in 1984, BMW three series. The old boxy one in creation. We call it coats car, which is like box because it was the easiest way to start racing. You just have an old real drive car with some old tires, you will differential and go racing. And lots of people think I was a race driver, but actually had like, just to racist before my engine blowups. It was told the winter style. And that's the moment when I decided to combine my two passions, the electronics and cars to make an electric race car out of that. Don't BMW. Yeah, that's a well known story now. I think everybody knows about that. The green monster. How did that turn into the, into the concept one though? Yeah, that's uh, my long story actually. So, I started a business immediately, uh, which was called the S. T. At the time, which is like the form of a speed vehicles. S deep, sir, velocities its distance in time.

Um, so, so I wanted to convert combustion engine cars to electric cars. But I figured out differently. That that doesn't make any sense because these cars are not built for that. So, if you, if you, for example, look at my BMW, I had the batteries where the rear seats used to be, I have nothing where the uh tank used to be. The trunk was also taken by batteries. The electric motor was where the gearbox used to be and the bone it was empty. So under the morning there was nothing but the engine used to be. So it was total wrong distribution of components. So I realize you have to build the car radio to scratch. I met Adriano was today our director of design And uh, he, at that time, he was just a couple of years older than I was. So he, he was like, I don't know, 24 and I was like 20, or something like that. And I wanted to build a car and he was working at that time, he just started at at GM or or a plug in Germany was like the european branch after of GM general models.

And I asked him like if he could took their cars together tonight in the technical part and he does the design and we started basically, I was doing it after university and he was working on the project after work and during weekends and you know, he had some sketches, I had some calculations and package concepts and stuff like that. I was still proving the BMW and doing racist and this kind of stuff. And when I went to the races, everybody initially was just laughing at me what I was doing with that washing machine or a strike because nobody ever saw him like your car on the racetrack, but even at that time, not even on the road, it was, you know, now electric cars that is sexy things, you know, Porsha tie con test um, unless uh, vera, but just like 10, 12 years ago, it was totally different. It's hard to get your mind back into that state, but it was like making anything we'd like to cars was ridiculous at that time. So people are laughing at me, but as I was improving the BMW, more and more people got excited about it and they were approaching me with ideas and so on and creation, not having a single venture capital funds, not having a, you know, ecosystem of startups of tech companies and so on.

There wasn't really anybody I could go to to ask for advice for anything. I went to the University of Mechanical Engineering, Zagreb because there's no automotive university in Croatia and they told me like, it's impossible to build a car in creation as soon as you give up the better for everybody to less people to go under with you. So I realized nobody is going to support me. But there was a guy who came and he was, he was working for a royal family in the Middle East and she said, look, these guys are always looking for interesting opportunities, if you have something cool to share, they can have a look, I can show it to them, they might be interested. So we did a little like four page for sure martin Haystack and like the technical specifications rendering this kind of stuff. And he went there and then he called me and said They want to buy two cars. I was like great but there is no car, there is no company, there's nothing. And the next day they called me and asked like okay so how much would you need to do it? So I sat down and built a business plan. I was still university that time like I was 21, years old and I soon after that got a term sheet but I have no idea what the term she was and I couldn't find lawyer in Croatia who understands basic bench capital deal terms like drag along or tag along or you know that kind of stuff.

So I really had to learn everything from ground up and yeah that's basically how how it started. We had a handshake agreement pretty fast. One of the some now driving to the german international outer show which used to be in Frankfurt for decades and this this time now it's the first time in in music. So one of the milestones in the term sheet was that we have to show the car at the Frankfurt auto show which was in september 2011 and we just had this agreement with them in uh, end of 2010 and I had no employees, nothing. I was just a guy in a garage And we had six months basically or maybe seven to build up a team, no know how with no experience, with very very little money to design and build the card to show that $20 a show which was at that time against the second largest out to show in the world and being in fresh, I couldn't hire anybody with experience. So I had to like find guys that were doing stuff in the garage that was remotely connected to what I was trying to do, just like on the Enthusiast basis, not on a professional basis.

And I had to convince their wives that it is okay for them to give up their, you know, secure jobs to work for a 20 year old guy with some arab investors And that's what they did. So I hired in the first three guys in April 2011, I ran to the building and we started with no experience and nothing and we had five months knowledgeable to build a car and then the investors pulled out basically. They knew I was already with my back against the wall because they were dragging it along like you know, I only rented the place already hired the people, I couldn't pay them was terrible from the beginning and then they were like, yeah, you know, we don't want to do the Central asia if you want to do this and want to get our money you have to move to the Middle East. And I was like this is hard enough to do in Croatia, I don't want to do this middle of doesn't plus you know I had like patriotic drive that I wanted to prove that it's possible to do the situation to build operation car. So I said no and yeah that's how the hardest told years of my life started.

So you're saying it was all easy and smooth from the beginning, right? Like butter. You know like butter like every other startup overnight success. No, I wanted to go back for a second. I know well at least you were before you are vegetarian or even vegan. I think that that also drives part of your mission. As far as E. V. S talk a little bit about that and kind of how your personal mission is connected with the with the car industry. Well I have a different view on that to be honest. I think I'm not sure if people do that on purpose if they if they actually no it and just pretend to not know it or or like they just do it because it suits their interests or whatever but uh electric cars and this whole thing. You know I don't share the view that this is really saving the world or whatever. I didn't share it from day one and you know, uh I always say, if you really care about the environment, eat less meat or don't eat meat, don't drive and like two car that's not really going to move the needle and that's coming from somebody who was totally invested in the interest of electric cars, you know who I am living from, uh, from uh, Electric cars and making batteries in this kind of stuff.

Um, don't get me wrong, it's the right thing to do because very simple combustion engine has 25, efficiency. Electric Boulder has 90% efficiency and of discussion, you know, you can generate electricity in many ways, but there's only one way to make fuel for now, okay, there's no synthetic fuels also covering. But so, so absolutely, it's the right thing to do. But you know, if you look at 2020 and the biggest catastrophe in our lifetime several and where the whole world basically stopped And all ground transport, like 70% of it was reduced in 2020. All air transport basically was totally grounded. So, uh, like, I don't know, traffic probably fell by At least 50% normal traffic, but probably like 70 in that year. You know how much emissions have reduced that year, 5%. Currently, electric cars are 2% of the global market and we are all as a society investing billions and billions and the smartest people and smartest minds the world to convert this biggest industry in the world to another qualification and building all of these, you know, supply chains and mining and all that stuff to enable that while there is much easier levers like eating less meat, I think, you know, it's it's a much easier way to save emissions.

Plus on the other hand, it's also uh you know, something that can be done immediately. Like now you have 2% of new cars sold being electric. How long will it take to replace the one billion cars in the world that are now fossil fuelled? And when will it have an impact like covid head on um for emissions, which was Just a little dent in the end. 5% isn't that much with all the drama we had last year. So I'm much more concerned about other things like uh biodiversity and how much of the biomass of uh the planet is actually connected to humanity like people and and our animals, like domesticated animals, like things and farm animals. Uh they are like, you know, 90% of the life biomass on like if you disregard like bacteria and uh an insect well just 100 years ago, that ratio was pretty much reversed and yeah, I pretty much, I'm more scared of that kind of stuff.

Yeah, I mean that you're absolutely right. I've looked at it as well. I think cattle produce production would be number three nation in emissions behind us and china as far as emissions period, just cattle production itself, Everything else. So very important mission. I think people lose sight of that, but it's a good reminder. I'm really excited to share something a long time in the making with you. My first online course over the years. I've trained thousands of founders through my book accelerated startup and my infamous pitching like a boss workshops and keynotes like I've done for thousands of founders. I will teach you how to pitch like a bus and for the first time ever, I will be doing it in a cohort based online course. This is the world's most comprehensive and intensive course for entrepreneurs and future founders on pitching it will help you craft the perfect pitch for investors and customers. It will also help you master public speaking, get funded, communicate your vision to grow your team and dramatically improve sales of any product, check out golem dot net slash pitching that G O L O M B dot net slash pitching for more information.

See you there? Yeah. Going back to the company itself. Um, when do you, did you feel that finally you had a breakthrough and that things were getting a little bit easier or have you had that yet? Yeah. Actually they were, I would say two steps to that. Like the first step was when the first big investors joined and before that, I mean it's very hard to Understand which kind of situation where when you are like for almost 10 years struggling for survival every day, like you don't know if the company will exist tomorrow, you're constantly getting bombarded by people who you are maybe late paying or didn't pay on time, which is a terrible situation, not salaries, but like suppliers or rent or whatever. That's really, that was the hardest thing for me, make sure because you are constantly this knives edge between survival uh, and and still progress, you know, and that's difficult to do and I'm a risk, Thank you. So sometimes we take a little bit more risk than you can actually handle and then you get into difficult situations and then finally, when you go to first serious investors behind us after a long time and that was already like 250 employees or something like that in the company.

So I was bootstrapping basically this company before that and you know, not having to worry about the next salary at least for some period. That was like well, you know, it was, it was a feeling I didn't have before and I can focus a little bit on other things other than fundraising and, and just, you know, making sure we make it till next week. Um, so that was like step one when, you know, Porsche and hindi and these guys investment and now I have the feeling that we are on the next step like and where we have the snowball effect, like things are just like All the hard work of the last 12 years kind of, you know, built up into the snowball and now the snowball is getting bigger and opportunities are coming to us. Uh, you know, we are super sexy for employees, investors are coming to us, like it's all there like, you know, you don't have to introduce yourself anymore, you don't have to do cold calls called emails, whatever everybody wants to meet you and they reach out to you and you know, that's the difference.

So All the difference, I remember our trip, uh, the emergency trip to China back in 2016. Yeah, that was one of the worst situations, actually, one of the, actually my, my worst here in my life. Uh, and, but there are many like that where the company was just barely, barely, barely like through the needles, you know, had made it, made it true. Now the Navarra, the car is very well known now and I remember the first time you and Adriana showed me those sketches, the secret sketches a few years ago and this, this concept to project. Um, but the business, you know, everybody knows in the vera the company is now very mainstream as far as popularity, but the business still, most of the businesses working with other ohms talk a little bit about kind of, some of the things that you can talk about at this point that's out there, some technology under the hood, what would you tell our audience about that? It was also quite an interesting moment. So Basically, you know, Marco was sitting here next to me is an instrumental part of that.

So, uh, he's a driver now, but so, so uh, when he walked into the company for the first time, I was like eight years ago, we were like 30 people, we had some prototypes on the benches that we were doing for for some car companies and so on. Like it was more like, let's say that the suppliers of the auto industry and not, not like the company's the car manufacturers themselves. So it was, let's say the second tier. And um, when he came, we define the strategy like you know, before that I was just doing whatever came to me and whatever opportunity I could get whenever you find a strategy that we want to be technology supplier and development, produced key components for the big players of the adult industry. Like, I don't know, Ferrari Porsche Mercedes being audience. And I was thinking to myself at that time, okay, you know, this sounds really good, but we are 30 guys in the middle of nowhere summer in Croatia with a 20 something year old Ceo with no experience in this, why the hell these guys come to us and you know, lots of little steps, million little steps to that.

And uh, then a couple of years ago in the Geneva auto show, you know, you never actually realized that these micro steps that you actually came somewhere. So Marco actually said when you were there in Geneva like look around us, you know, there's a bunch of cars having our technology in them, like our battery or a power train here in Geneva. Like we have our car exhibits here with pretty much everything developed and made in house and we have all the right customers, all the big car companies, all the, you know, management board members coming to our stand talking about exactly the right kind of projects that you want. Like that strategy from eight years ago. That was so, uh, let's say incredible at that time, actually it's executed tick in a box. We actually managed to do it. So now, as you say, the main business is, it's actually two businesses on one side, the hypercar business, which is now not just the Nevada, but also we took over the responsibility for karate um, which is a pretty big thing with, I guess we'll discuss that as well and on the other side developing the technology for our own hyper cars.

Yes, But also for, primarily for many other ROMs including our shareholders, which is Portia and Uganda and so on. And it's basically helping them to go hybrid and electric or even hydrogen in some cases faster and better. And also kind of to make sure that the cars they are making are fun and exciting and you know, not just, let's say greenwashing, but also to help them make cars that are really cool. Also for people who love cars like you and me, you remember that was a big, big pivot. I think it was easier to explain investors when we're having those discussions. Uh, hypercar business is very small, but building the vision of being the next bosh, not the next Ferrari for say, that's the line that we use. Right. So I think that, that was easier for investors to understand to become supplier for this industry. And that's, uh, worked out quite well. So you mentioned the Bugatti deal. Um, that's, that's a really big deal. Obviously. Uh, talk a little bit about how that came together and what you know what the structure is because it's, it's not a straight ahead structure that you can, that that is too easy to understand.

But it was announced to remember the chart with all the different tentacles. So talk a little bit about that deal and all that. So basically I read somewhere when big corporate invests in small company As a strategic investment that like in 95% of the cases within three or four years, the partnership falls through because the expectations were not arrived to start up and deliver the interests were not the line and so on. In our case portion, investors for the first time in their history into a startup, which was us um, after, by the way, three years of due diligence, three times doing it a very proper german way, which, which was quite difficult for us and by, you know, over delivering on our promises to them and showing them whatever you promise that people do. We gained really their trust and they, you know, I mean, big company doesn't have a single opinion. There's lots of opinions in the company and there are lots of critics of like why would portion eat us?

You know, it's Porsche after all, it's the sports car company, Why would they need a little, you know, shady company in Croatia. Uh, so we converted a lot of naysayers through support to supporters and to fans of the company and people who love to work with us by just doing our job and delivering on what was expected of us, that what you promised. So the support group and we did also the investment. So Portia invested sometimes more into the company, which is very rare, I would say. And I think, you know, the support within Portia just grows because whatever they throw at us and where many people say, look, it's too big of a risk, we cannot take this risk. We actually deliver. And as Porsche is part of the folk song group, course, word comes around and often times I felt like, you know, a tourist guide just dr giving company, tourism factory tours to executives from the Volkswagen group, from Audi from Volkswagen. So there was a lot of awareness about what we were doing and most of people in the Volkswagen group knew about that's and they considered us like, you know this edge, I'll lean a little bit crazy guys that we're doing things in a different way.

And oftentimes big companies are frustrated for people in the big companies are frustrated by how things are working within the company and they know their limitations sometimes like or where they need to focus. So folks line out in this gate scandal, they really went all in into electrification, not as some, you know, like greenwashing marketing exercise, but actually they are all in really and I can see them from inside, they're really going completely after electric cars and Bugatti just fit in there with their strategy because they don't have the technology to, I want a hypercar with poetry and going into folks one way electrification would just cost millions electrification of Bugatti. So this was one of the rare instances where uh there was a win win win situation when for Volkswagen went for uh Bugatti and meant for us, where it was super positive for everybody. Uh Bugatti has secured future where without us that might depression go Remus has a very strong brand to exploit our um lean way of working and the technologies we have and folks, we have somebody who takes care of in a very entrepreneurial way about one of their key assets, um, and it's the first time, something like that happened and many people told me like the auto industry has changed so much like deal like this 10 years ago would have been in imaginable that folks following the biggest company in europe north car company, biggest company in europe, which has four times the revenue of Fresh GDP, decided to give one of their brands to give.

It's not it's not a gift, but basically do the transaction when we take over the leadership for, for how it actually started. It was in a meeting where the head of strategy of the Volkswagen group called me too to talk about Matthew, I thought that he wants to talk about the project we're doing for them. We were working on a conflict for an electric car and in the middle of me presenting to him what I was doing in that project, he asked me like, what do you think about taking the company over? Like we got the over and I thought it was a joke and I kind of ignored it. And three months later he called me and asked like, came out, did you think about my proposal? I was like, oh, it wasn't a joke. So that's when you basically started to work on it and it was basically three years ago, almost, yeah, so it took some quite, quite a lot of time as well to get this deal done. It's a lot of stakeholders, it's a lot of opinions. Again, it's a lot of different interests, it's unions, so it's a lot of stakeholders are lots of different groups that have all their opinion and their interests and so on.

And of course it takes a lot of time in such a big company. It's also very cautious about their reputation and their uh every move they make, especially after this kid scandal, there is zero risk policy in terms of legal risks and so on. So antitrust and stuff like that has been big topics, lots of new terms that I have learned uh and your things in this whole process and it's interesting to do uh you know, such a deal with one of the biggest companies in the road, like that's something you can't learn anywhere I guess. So it was, it was an interesting journey and like, right until the end we didn't know it was going to go through or not like because there were people who were against it and people who are for it, so, but in the end, I think uh the deal just makes so much sense for everybody involved, so that anything else would have been just such a, such a shame if you didn't go through? Well, it's fantastic. Uh it's, it's an earthquake in the auto industry and um looking forward to seeing the first electric Bugatti, that'll be quite a sight.

Yeah, absolutely, but not, yeah, there will be different things that people might not expect. Mhm mm. When companies start to catch fire and blood scale and look for capital to fuel that growth or look to find the right exit strategy. They often seek the counsel of investment bankers. A drink star partners, we work with some of the leading companies in global tech on capital raises, m and a corporate carve outs packs and much more and we're pretty good at it. Our team of over 100 technology sector experts across nine offices in six countries is comprised of not only career bankers but experienced executive venture investors and technologists, drinks are partners is the number one ranked and fastest growing mid market investment bank across U. S. And europe. While I focus on mobility and energy transition sector along with all things Silicon Valley, my partners from the pacific to the atlantic and around the world leading software, media communications and everything in between, learn more about us at drake star dot com. Yeah. Yeah. The other thing is that by, by my count, you and RJ Syringe of Rivian are the two youngest ceos in uh in the auto industry and you know, major funded companies.

Uh and you beat them by about five years. What do you think is different about the mentality of millennials running these companies now than kind of the old guard. Yeah, well I I met also some other uh younger guys who are very different from a J and myself, I think large and myself are quite similar, but I think there are other black sheep in the industry as well that they do things quite differently. I mean there's so much money being thrown after the Uh, this segment right now, you know, when I think about the struggles that we have and how much, you know, $10,000 meant to us and then you know, now there's companies with nothing raising billions. Um, it's quite, quite strange, but R. J. Is one of those who has really one of the very few who has a lot of substance and everything and uh, yeah, it's really cool what these guys are doing and I'm happy that we are also friends, what we are doing differently I think is you know, not being from the industries, I think a blessing sometimes you are not really, you know, looking at it as even often says, uh, as you know, first principles and completely uh, what makes sense and what doesn't Yeah, but one thing, you know, I kind of dislike is this notion that startups in Silicon Valley are so much better at this than the stupid big old companies because if you look at it, you know, if you look at how much, uh, some of these big tv startups raised, how many billions and how long it took them bring the first product on the market and very, very few actually did that yet.

Um, and then compared to how much automotive companies actually needs to bring a new product to the market and how much money it thinks start ups a lot more efficient there. It's actually the other way around. So I kind of feel a little bit bad for that where everybody just assumes like, yeah, yeah, you know this big heavy companies, they don't know, I think here the young smart guys, they'll do everything better. Making cars is difficult and uh, we can see that on Tesla and you can see that everywhere else. So uh, you know, it's a huge job that many of the people in the industry are doing the newcomers but let's not, you know, disregards the the experienced talks as we would say in Croatia uh, here who have done it for for decades and uh doing a very hard job which is developing and building cars. What's the different approach. I think it's just maybe also not having the legacy. You know, when you don't have to worry about dealers and unions and supply chains and factories that produce pistons and gearboxes for combustion engine cars and so on.

It's also a very big thing when you don't have to do that. You know. Yeah, a lot of people compare making a car to like contouring out, contracting out assembly of of an iphone or another smartphone but it's much much more complex than that and um, you know the E. V. Is fine no brainer. Right everybody's going electric. We're finally at that point where you don't really have to sell that idea but autonomy is still a lot more fuzzy. What are your thoughts on autonomy? Yeah I completely agree with your electrification is like you know it's not even a discussion anymore. It's like that it's the thing there is no more you know I I used to have so many of these discussions this like to create the future. Will combustion engine cars become electric and so on? Yeah okay that's that's done okay. We are not talking about this anymore and and to be honest it's really a small change like everybody stays in their kind of comfort zone. Everybody like the suppliers make parts, the car companies make the cars and sell it to the dealers.

The dealers sell it to the end customers. You know that's it. It doesn't really matter for the car company if they install an exhaust pipe from supplier a or or a best feedback from supplier B or even from the same supplier can also have. So there are still in their comfort zone while feeling that everything is changing. Um the real big changes autonomous driving and and you should not even autonomous driving but more I would say the new mobility um landscape where people don't own uh cars anymore. They are just users of the service and that's really the big big change and autonomous driving and electrification are two enablers of that. So I'm really a big how would I say fan of that and I really think this will bring the change and this will also bring the environmental change and social change too to society just you know like phones, you know the iphone didn't disrupt just Nokia but actually uh changed our lives, it changed the way everybody of us lives their daily life and you know electric cars like Tesla is now disrupting the big volumes in the same way like the iphone disrupted Nokia but that's just step one.

The real change to society is going to be in the same ability where you know, it doesn't anymore matter how far you live from the city or from your work because you are, you're basically using your time productively while you are in the vehicle commuting because you need screen time anyways to do your emails to your stuff, to relax to watch, movie, whatever. So once you are in that robot vehicle you are, I'm not really caring so much anymore. If the right takes 20 minutes or 40 minutes you are going to be productive anyways, That changes cities, that changes real estate, that changes infrastructure, infrastructure is going to be used much better. Uh, only more pedestrian zones in cities, less pollution, you know, all that stuff. There's so many things that you cannot imagine, just you couldn't imagine, you know that people have this conversation now on the phone in 2005 Or 2007 when the iPhone was announced in the same way, you kind of really imagine how this new shift in mobility will change society and you guys have taken a different approach to autonomy, right?

You're not making a hypercar that is supposed to be fun to drive complete autonomous. You have a track coach. Um you haven't talked about that feature too much publicly. I don't know, maybe there's something you can add on that a little bit more detail on what that's going to be like actually uh Professor from stanford told me, I think it was like in 2015 the company who doesn't have an A. I. T. Like three years from now will be like totally irrelevant, will go to oblivion. And I was thinking at that time, okay, so what can we do with the times driving? And we don't compete with like way more and uh these kind of guys and I thought, you know, we don't want to do like the same thing that these guys are doing because there's so many billions strong and trying to achieve the same thing transporting from Point A to point B and there's so many companies trying to do that and it's such a huge challenge. We don't have a chance there even at the time when it was very tempting and there was many companies raising lots of money and achieving huge valuations I didn't really want to do that and get into the game.

So we decided for something else. Um, and applied in a way where we were more home in high performance. So the idea is, you might have the money to buy a sports car, but you probably don't have the skills to use it properly. And with the driver coach, you have a very high performance autonomous driving system for track use where you go onto the track and the car can show you perfect laps around the track and you don't have to do anything. It can show you like the former one driver is driving you around, show you the capabilities of your car and then when you take over, It actually gives you instructions on how to be a better driver, how to break, better steer, better everything about the breaking points, turning points of this kind of stuff. Yeah, so that system is still in development. We have super computer in the car and video. We're doing all the software, we have 13 cameras, six radars, this kind of stuff. Yeah, it's pretty cool feature. And then also, you know, it can also be used.

So, other things because when you have such a system has to react like, you know, incredibly fast Because when you drive like 300 km power on track, you're passing lots of meters in in a short amount of time or per second. So yeah, there's lots of challenges that come in like, I wonder if it's going to yell like every track coach I, I've ever had, you know, break, break, break turn in turn in something like that. But yeah, hopefully one day you can choose like if you want to have, you know, a certain race driver as your culture, another one, your favorite race driver marty, I don't know if you know or if you've noticed on twitter, there's a lot of speculation because you and I know each other and have done some work together before the whole world of spats are speculating that re mats will be going in that direction as well. Can you share some ideas? What do you think about the SPAC market and anything that you can share publicly? Does anybody want to be a public company ceo, I don't know what's going on.

I don't, I don't think that's, you know, such a wise personal choice, but it's, I think it's necessary business choice. You know, I always said uh remarking myself, always saying that we are building a company for 100 years. If you look at Porsche, it's 17 years old. If you look at sporadic, it's, I think it's similar or like Bugatti is 100 and 12 years old, so we are really in for the long run and you know, not to hit and run thing. Um, so when this whole spectrum came out, I was like, you know, we, we are not going to be part of this because it's going to be crushing down. Um Not not everywhere not in all cases but because there is lots of companies that were absolutely over promising on on levels you can't imagine and I think people are seeing some of that right now and then um when it comes to I. P. O. That was like our long term plan but at some point was so tempting because there are so many companies that were far behind us in maturity, raising so much more money than us that we you know we're in a disadvantaged position so we were thinking about back but we have decided against it because we think there will be some not so nice surprises inspect market.

Um Of course not just try anything I respect. I think there's many great specs many great companies have done aspect but also many that haven't, that were integrate company so rather will most probably um do an I. P. O. But in a few years time when we have really the fundamental sorted out also like close the deal or like integrated Bugatti properly and built the campus and she had a few more milestones and then I think it's the right time for an IPO um Not because I want to be the ceo of a publicly run company but it's the right thing to do for a company and that's always what what should be the first priority. Yeah, definitely. And exercising accountability on a, in a big way on a quarterly basis. So I wanted to ask you one last question, um, you know, you've gone through quite a journey um since I've known you in, in these years, almost the entire history of the company, almost not quite, but you've grown a beard, you've always said that publicly to look a little bit older in this space and you've gotten a little bit of a silver hair as well.

I've noticed through this process, Because it's not easy, what advice would you give your 17 year old self? You know, starting out knowing what, you know now? Oh yeah, that's, that's a good one. You know? Uh, I basically sacrificed a lot of my life to build this company. Um, I don't regret it. I think it was exactly as it should have been. Uh, uh, if I would go back now, I do everything differently. But I guess if I would start with the knowledge I have now, probably I would screw up somewhere. I guess it just had to be exactly as it was. Maybe I would worry less about competition going back because I always had a feeling like, you know, I have no idea what I'm doing and have so little funding and everything, There will be all these companies chasing up to the same thing and there will be much faster and so on And then I rushed a few things rather than doing them properly. So I think if I hadn't worried so much about competition, which 12 years later, it's still not there by the way. So we're still the only game in town when it comes to this super high performance electrification.

I think that's, that's one of the things that I would have changed other than that, I don't know, maybe, maybe I would, I would have done it in a country where it was somewhat easier. I guess that someone thinks that, I think, you know, you just learned so much. I think every year I'm a different person and I'm actually running a different company because of the rate of growth. So there's just so much of learning and you know, if I had this experience, I would do everything differently. Yeah, that's, that's always, it's always fun to look back right? But you're still, you're still, you've got many, many years ahead of you. I think it would be interesting to watch how the company develops, how you change. Maybe, you know, you become co ceo of the country of Croatia to add a few things to your plate. You certainly are quite a hero. I hope most people realize how much you're bringing to the country. Um we were talking about before hitting record just came back from sailing the islands there for a week, which is a big bucket list item for everyone. Um so fantastic place to do it. Um, any, anything we missed, any last words you wanted to add that would be inspiring to other entrepreneurs.

I think we've covered it pretty well. I just think, you know, I think many people are saying that, but perseverance is really everything and you know, most of the time, this is not a fun job and it's uh It's like, I mean it depends what you want to do if you want to do this for 10, 15 years and cash out and live like a dog for 15 years and then, enjoy life. that's fine. But I guess that's, people with that kind of attitude will not get far. Uh it's a long term game, you won't do anything in two or three years, so, so I think you have to be in it for the long run uh and it's pretty miserable often, but also rewarding. So people have to be ready for that compromise and you know, live with it every day. That was our conversation with Mate, CEO of Rimac and Bugatti. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to give us five stars on your favorite podcast platform and share with your friends. See you in the next one and in the meantime you can always find me at

E10 | Season 2 - Mate Rimac (Bugatti-Rimac - CEO)
E10 | Season 2 - Mate Rimac (Bugatti-Rimac - CEO)
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