Who is Adeo Ressi?

Adeo Ressi is an Italian-American investor who has been described as the “entrepreneur who manufactures entrepreneurs” and is notable for selling two companies before the age of 30 for $1 billion.

Ressi is the founder and CEO of TheFunded, a venture capital firm review website, and a business incubator and entrepreneur training center known as The Founder Institute. He has also been involved with numerous other companies and foundations to further various business and environment-related pursuits.

Education and early career

Rossi initially studied at the University of Pennsylvania as an environmental studies major where Elon Musk was his roommate for a time. There, he founded the Social Revolutionary Club and started an environmentalist newspaper called Green Times

While Rossi spent the full four years at university, he was denied a degree after attempting to submit copies of the newspaper as his senior thesis. Once out of college, he co-founded the local news website Total New York in 1994 which was then purchased in 1997 by AOL for an undisclosed sum.

In 1995, Rossi launched the web development firm methodfive and then sold the 250-person company to Xceed for $88 million in 2000. Flush with capital, he founded Game Trust in 2002, an infrastructure developer of casual online games.

The seed is sown

Despite early success in securing venture capital, a second round of funding from Softbank worth $10 million fell through on the day the deal was due to be signed. 

Since the company was obligated not to seek other sources of investment, Ressi was forced to take out a bridge loan to keep Game Trust afloat. The incident also set in motion a chain of events that would see new investors try to force Rossi out of the company.

While the coup ultimately failed, Ressi knew that something had to change. Game Trust was sold to digital entertainment services provider RealNetworks in 2007 and the scene was set for a personal change of course.


Over the winter of 2006, Rossi built TheFunded as a place where he could keep closer tabs on his investors. The platform was conceived for his personal use, but after information about its existence was leaked to TechCrunch, Ressi received numerous applications from those wishing to join.

By January 2008, TheFunded had a community of 3,600 users who could read or write anonymous reviews of VC firms and help others avoid a repeat of the Softbank debacle. 

The Founder Institute 

Ressi founded his start-up incubator and entrepreneur training program in 2009. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the primary object of The Founder Institute is to reduce start-up failure and “globalize Silicon Valley”. Ressi also wanted to discover the ingredients for a successful entrepreneur and assist them with creating better businesses.

Since its inception, the Founder Institute operates in more than 200 cities around the world and has invested $1.75 billion in approximately 6,000 companies.

X Prize

Ressi has also served on the board of the non-profit organization X Prize. The non-profit, which he joined to pursue his interests in human achievement and space exploration, holds competitions to encourage the development of tech that benefits humanity.

Key takeaways:

  • Adeo Ressi is an Italian-American investor who has been described as the “entrepreneur who manufactures entrepreneurs”. He is the founder and CEO of TheFunded and business incubator The Founder Institute.
  • After a failed round of funding, Ressi sold the online game infrastructure company Game Trust and developed a platform where users could rate their experience with VC firms.
  • The Founder Institute was launched in 2009 to discover what made a successful entrepreneur and reduce start-up failure. Ressi has also sat on the board of the philanthropic non-profit X Prize.

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Related to Tesla

Who Is Elon Musk

Elon Musk, seen as one of the most visionary tech entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley scene, started his “career” as an entrepreneur at an early age. After selling his first startup, Zip2, in 1999, he made $22 million, which he used to found X.com, which would later become PayPal, and sell for over a billion to eBay (Musk made $180 million from the deal). He founded other companies like Tesla (he didn’t start it but became a major investor in the early years) and SpaceX. Tesla started as an electric sports car niche player, eventually turned into a mass manufacturing electric car maker.

Who Owns Tesla

Elon Musk, an early investor and CEO of Tesla, is the major shareholder with 21.7% of the stocks. Other major shareholders comprise investment firms like Baillie Gifford & Co. (7.7%), FMR LLC (5.3%), Capital Ventures International (5.2%), T. Rowe Price Associates (5.2%), and Capital World Investors (5%). Another major individual shareholder is Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle), with a 1.7% stake.

History of Tesla

Founded in 2003 by Eberhard and Tarpenning, eventually, the initial co-founders left the company, and by 2004, Musk first became the main investor. After that, by 2008, he took over as CEO of the company. Tesla would go through many near-death experiences until 2018. And yet, by 2021, Tesla will become a trillion-dollar company.

Tesla Business Model

Tesla is vertically integrated. Therefore, the company runs and operates the Tesla’s plants where cars are manufactured and the Gigafactory, which produces the battery packs and stationary storage systems for its electric vehicles, which are sold via direct channels like the Tesla online store and the Tesla physical stores.

Tesla Competitors

As an electric automaker and builder of sports cars and now trucks, Tesla’s competitors comprise companies like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Rivian Lucid Motors, Toyota, and more. At the same time, Tesla is an electric energy production and storage company (SolarCity); it competes with Sunrun, SunPower, and Vivint Solar. And as an autonomous driving company, it competes with companies like Zoox, Waymo, and Baidu with self-driving software.

Real-Time Insurance

A real-time insurance business model enables Tesla to build its insurance arm by dynamically adjusting the premiums based on real-time driving behavior. Reduced insurance premiums hooked with the leasing arm enable Tesla to scale its demand side of the business.

Tesla Business Model

In 2021, Tesla generated over $53.8 billion in revenues, compared to $31.5 billion in 2020. The largest segment in automotive sales (comprising regulatory credits revenues), followed by leasing (as part of the automotive), generated $1.6 billion in 2021. Outside automotive sales (non-warranty after-sales vehicle services, sales of used vehicles, retail merchandise, and more) accounted for $3.8 billion. And energy generation and storage accounted for $2.8 billion. US and China are the primary markets, with almost $24 billion and nearly $14 billion, respectively, in 2021. In 2021, Tesla generated $5.6 billion in Net Income, a net margin of over 10%.

Read Also: Tesla Business Model, Tesla SWOT Analysis, Transitional Business Models, Tesla Mission Statement.

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