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Beleaguered electric car maker Fisker Automotive finally filed for bankruptcy late on Friday, many months after expected, and over a year since it made its last car. While the bankruptcy has been expected for a long time, this is one of the first times the public has been able to see Fisker’s very long list of creditors — 669 pages long, with an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 creditors.
Creditors are individuals and companies to which Fisker owes money, so the list includes vendors as well as investors. It could also include people that put down deposits for cars and never received a car, or people who bought a car from Fisker and for whatever reason are still owed money. At this point it’s hard to tell which creditors are involved with what part of the business and for how much, but what we do know is that there are a lot of well-known names on that creditor list.
One of the more interesting creditors is “Robert Hunter Biden,” who appears to be the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and is also a Managing Partner with Rosemont Seneca. The name “Robert Hunter Biden” appears on the list of creditors, but not his investment firm’s address or his personal home address. I’ve reached out to Rosemont Seneca to get more information.
If it’s the same person, Biden could be an early investor or just a potential customer that is owed deposit money. Biden’s connection to the company would be controversial news, though, because Fisker received (and mostly lost) a large loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, and claimed to be building a plant in Biden’s home state of Delaware (but never built it).
Over a couple years, Fisker, through its broker Advanced Equities, took the unusual approach of raising small amounts of money from over a thousand wealthy individuals. So it looks like some of these personal investors appear on this creditor list. Those include Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and Cisco CEO John Chambers. I previously heard that both Benioff and Chambers had been one of those thousand investors in Fisker through Advanced Equities, and earlier this year I reached out to both of them but never heard back.
Other high profile Silicon Valley executives on the creditor list include Nest CEO Tony Fadell, Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar, NRG Energy CEO David Crane, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. After being contacted for comment, Andreessen said he was not an investor in Fisker but had put down a $5,000 deposit when Fisker first launched. A spokesperson for Nest refused comment.
A big chunk of the Kleiner Perkin’s partner team is listed as creditors including John Doerr, Ray Lane, Ben Kortlang, Brook Byers, Ted Schlein, and Trae Vassallo. Kleiner Perkins is one of Fisker’s largest investors and actually owns 6.8 percent of the equity of Fisker in total. But one of the more surprising things that I learned through my reporting on Fisker is that venture capital executives sometimes used their personal funds to invest in the company. However, the Kleiner Partners could be customers or investors and the filing doesn’t reveal the details.
Hollywood also got snared in the Fisker’s hopes and dreams. Leonardo DiCaprio is listed as a creditor (it was already known that he was both an investor and a customer), but “Don Cheadle,” (appears to be the actor) “Andre Agassi,” and former Vice President Al Gore are also listed. Al Gore was one of the first customers to receive a Karma and also works with Kleiner Perkins. Ford’s Motor’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. also appears to be listed.
Along with the bankruptcy, Fisker is planning to sell its assets to a company called Hybrid Technology. Bloomberg reported Friday that Hybrid Technology is a group that includes the son of Hong Kong’s richest man Richard Li. The assets are being sold at a $139 million loss to taxpayers as the Department of Energy gave Fisker a $192 million loan, and was able to recoup part of that. Fisker estimates that it has assets of between $100 million and $500 million according to the filing, and between $500 million to $1 billion in liabilities.
If you look at this list, one thing is clear: there’s a lot of wealthy people who were willing to put down small amounts of money, and some very large amounts of money, into the dream of a startup building an electric car. While Fisker ended up burning through all of this money, its peer Tesla Motors has managed to survive and thrive with its Model S. Earlier this year I wrote this detailed article of Fisker’s rise and fall.
Here’s some of the more high profile names on Fisker’s creditor’s list:
- BMW, the largest claim, for $74 million — Fisker bought engines from BMW for its second car.
- Valmet Automotive, for $8.5 million — Valmet is the Finnish manufacturer of the Karma.
- New Castle County in Delaware, Fisker owes almost a million dollars in property taxes to Castle County, where it owned a factory space that it hoped to use to build its second car.
- Orrick, the San Francisco tech law firm has a claim on $845,000
- Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President, Kleiner Partner
- Andre Agassi (appears to own a Fisker Karma)
- Kleiner Partners, John Doerr, Ben Kortlang, Brook Byers, Ray Lane, Ted Schlein, Trae Vassallo
- NEA Partners, Scott Sandell, Ravi Viswanathan
- David Crane, NRG CEO and Fisker car owner
- Don Cheadle, appears to be the actor
- Hans Joachim Schopf, former executive vice president of DaimlerChrysler AG and head of Mercedes Car Group R&D
- KR Sridhar, CEO of Bloom Energy
- Leonardo Dicaprio, actor
- Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz Partner
- Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, plus his The Marc R Benioff Revocable Trust
- Mindy Grossman, CEO of Home Shopping Network
- Richard Li, Hong Kong businessman, and reportedly part of a group that bought out the DOE’s loan
- Richard Lowenthal, founder, CTO Chargepoint
- Robert Hunter Biden, appears to be the second son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, investor with Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners
- Ross Jaffe, Managing Director Versant Ventures
- Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and co-CEO of Sherpa Global, advisor to Menlo Ventures
- Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics, and brother of Maria Shriver
- Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest
- William Ford Jr, Great-grandson of Henry Ford, and executive chairman of Ford Motor Company