William Santana Li
Bill is an American entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience and has a broad and deep range of expertise gained from several global assignments in the automotive sector and a number of startups. He is presently the Chairman and CEO of Knightscope, a developer of Autonomous Data Machines.
At Ford Motor Company, Bill held over 12 business and technical positions, focused on 4 continents, cutting across each functional area. These positions ranged from component, systems, and vehicle engineering with Visteon, Mazda, and Lincoln; to business & product strategy on the US youth market, India, and the emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and South America; as well as the financial turnaround of Ford of Europe. In addition, he was on the AMAZON team, which established an all-new modular plant in Brazil. Subsequently, he served as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions.
After internally securing $250 million, Bill founded and was COO of GreenLeaf, a Ford subsidiary that became the world’s 2nd largest automotive recycler. Under his leadership, GreenLeaf grew to a 600-employee operation with 20 locations and $150 million in sales. At the age of 28, Bill was the youngest senior executive at Ford worldwide.
Bill was then recruited by SOFTBANK Venture Capital to establish Model E Corporation as its President and CEO, a new car company where the “Subscribe and Drive” philosophy was first pioneered in California. He subsequently co-founded Build-To-Order Inc. (BTO) as its President and CEO, a new car company based on the direct distribution of build-to-order products. Bill also founded Carbon Motors, and as its Chairman and CEO, focused it on developing the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle. He also built a world-class advisory board comprised of senior officials that had worked directly for 3 different U.S. Presidents.
Bill earned a BSEE from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy.