Before starting Lytro, Ren was on the fast path to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a professor. In fact, his seminal Ph.D. research on light field technology earned the field’s top honor, the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for best thesis in computer science and engineering, as well as Stanford University’s Arthur Samuel Award for Best Ph.D. Dissertation. The entrepreneurial spark came when Ren purchased his first DSLR camera and saw the potential to apply light field technology to capture pictures in addition to image generation. As a result, instead of continuing on a purely academic path, Ren decided to apply and extend his theoretical work by making light field cameras that everyone can use. That’s how the Lytro picture revolution began.
When the company originally received funding, Ren was running the business solo. Ren and a core team made breakthrough engineering innovations, setting a strong foundation for the world-class crew he’s now leading to produce light field cameras that make groundbreaking living pictures. The ambition and persistence that characterize Ren’s career are also evident in his hobbies – an avid rock climber, he is constantly striving to reach new heights. Ren holds a Ph.D. in computer science and a B.S. in mathematical and computational science from Stanford University.