William Santana Li
William (“Bill”) Santana Li has served as Knightscope's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) since April 2013. Mr. Li is an American entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience working in the global automotive sector and founding and leading a number of startups. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Li held multiple business and technical positions at Ford Motor Company across four continents.
Over a period of 9 years, Bill and his team of dedicated executives, patriots, technologists and veterans were able to start Knightscope in 2013, get the efforts funded, build all the technology from scratch, and yield positive crime-fighting wins for society, proving out the capabilities nationwide. Bill raised over $120 million from over 35,000 investors and successfully completed a public listing on NASDAQ in 2022, now trading under the ticker symbol "KSCP." Subsequently, the Company secured an additional $100 million in a committed equity facility to fuel its growth.
His positions at Ford ranged from component, systems, and vehicle engineering with the Visteon, Mazda, and Lincoln brands; to business and product strategy on the United States 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 in financing, Mr. Li founded and served as COO of GreenLeaf LLC, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary that became the world’s second-largest automotive recycler. Under his leadership, GreenLeaf grew to more than 600 employees, 20 locations worldwide, and annual sales of approximately $150 million. At the age of 28, Bill was the youngest senior executive at Ford Motor Company worldwide.
After successfully establishing GreenLeaf, Mr. Li was recruited by SoftBank Venture Capital to establish and serve as the President and CEO of the Model E Corporation, a newly established automobile manufacturer that focused on the “Subscribe and Drive” model in California. Mr. Li also founded Carbon Motors Corporation in 2003; as its Chairman and CEO until February 2013, he focused it on developing the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle.
Mr. Li earned a BSEE from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy.