Elon Reeve Musk is a South African-born American entrepreneur. The business magnate, engineer, and industrialist was born on 28th June 1971. Elon co-founded PayPal, the electronic payment firm. In addition to that, he is the man behind SpaceX, maker of launch spacecraft and vehicles. Elon Musk is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of Tesla, the electric car manufacturing company.
Furthermore, Elon, 49, is the founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink, and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI.
Elon’s personal life
Musk married Justine Wilson in 2000. Justine is a Canadian author. They met while attending Queen’s University. However, they separated in 2008. The couple had a son together, Nevada Alexander Musk. Sadly, he died at the age of 10 weeks from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Elon and Justine had five more children together; Nevada Alexander Musk, Griffin Musk, Damian Musk, Xavier Musk, Kai Musk, and Saxon Musk. The couple share custody over their five children.
Later, in 2010 musk got married to Talulah Riley after dating her for two years. However, their marriage did not last. In 2012, Musk and Talulah got a divorce. In 2013 they got married again. Then, in 2014, Musk filed a divorce from her, which he withdrew. However, in 2016 the two decided to go ahead with the divorce. Later, Musk dated Amber Heard in 2017 for a couple of months. Rumors had it that she was having an affair with Elon Musk while still married to Johnny Depp.
Recently, he had another boy with his girlfriend, Claire Elise Boucher (commonly known as Grimer), in May 2020. In May 2018, the couple revealed they are dating. They named their son X Æ A-Xii Musk. The name was unique yet peculiar. However, California law stated the name is not legal. This was because it contained characters that are not in the modern English alphabet. However, the child was eventually named “X AE A-XII,” with “X” as a first name and “AE A-XII” as a middle name.
In an interview with Joe Rogan, Musk explained the name by saying:
“First of all, my partner is the one that, actually, mostly, came up with the name.”
When asked how to pronounce his baby’s name, he explained, “I mean it’s just X, the letter X. And then, the Æ is, like, pronounced ‘Ash’… and then, A-12, A-12 is my contribution.”
Elon Musk’s early life
Elon Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father. He was raised in Pretoria, South Africa. From a very young age, Elon developed an interest in entrepreneurship and computers. When he was 12 years old, Elon created a video game. Later, he sold it to a computer magazine.
He attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at the age of 17. Later he attended Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later. Elon achieved his bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics.
In 1995, Elon Musk moved to California to attend Stanford University. However, he changed his mind later. He decided to pursue a business career. Musk believed that the Internet had much more potential to change society than work in physics.
Beginning of Elon Musk’s billionaire journey
He co-founded the web software company Zip2 along with his brother, Kimbal.
Zip2 was a company that provided maps and business directories to online newspapers.
In 1998, he obtained a Canadian passport. Later, he left for South Africa because he was unwilling to support apartheid through compulsory military service. Moreover, he felt there were greater economic opportunities in the United States.
Later on, Compaq bought Zip2 for $309 million in the year 1999. Then, Elon Musk founded an online financial services company, bank X.com the same year. Bank X.com was the first online bank to be federally insured. Within the first few months, 200,000 customers joined X.com. Elon was replaced by investors later on. They chose Bill Harris as CEO instead.
In 2000, bank X.com merged with Confinity to avoid competition. The company grew fame as it specialized in transferring money online. Peter Thiel and Max Levchin founded Confinity. Later on, Elon Musk returned as CEO. However, Thiel and Musk faced a rift as Elon Musk chose Microsoft software while Thiel opted for Linux. This resulted in technological issues. They also lacked a cohesive business model because of disagreements. The board members requested Elon to step out. Thiel became the CEO in September 2000. He focused on PayPal. Thiel renamed the service ‘PayPal’ in 2001.
In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in stock. Elon Musk held the largest shares. He acquired 11.7% of the shares and received more than $100 million.
Later on, Elon Musk purchased the domain name X.com from PayPal for an undisclosed amount in 2017. He said it had sentimental values.
Musk believed for humans to survive; we have to become a multi-planet species.
Musk was interested in the nonprofit organization Mars Society in 2001. He decided to learn more about it and got involved in it. Elon Musk found inspiration in the plan to place a growth chamber for plants on Mars. He discussed in funding the Mars project himself.
Elon traveled with a group to Moscow in October 2001. He wanted to purchase refurbished Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). ICBMs were needed to send the greenhouse payloads into space. He met with Kosmotras and NPO Lavochkin and got into a feud with one of the Russian chief designers. Therefore, the group returned to the United States empty-handed.
In February 2002, they returned to Russia. They looked for three ICBMs. They met with Kosmotras and were offered one rocket for $8 million. However, Elon Musk rejected it. He decided to begin a company that could build affordable rockets.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp was founded in 2002. Space Exploration Technologies Corp is an aerospace manufacturer and space transport service company. He is the CEO, CTO, and lead designer of the company. He began it with $100 million of his early fortune. Musk traded the company as SpaceX in May 2002.
The company failed three launches. Finally, SpaceX succeeded in 2008 when it launched Falcon 1. Falcon 1 was the first private liquid-fuel rocket to reach Earth orbit. SpaceX received $1.6 billion later that year via the Commercial Resupply Services program. The program signed a contract for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 rocket. Moreover, they also signed for Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. The CRSP replaced the Space Shuttle after it closed down in 2011.
Furthermore, in 2012 the Dragon vehicle accommodated with ISS. This was the first attempt for a private enterprise. The company was working towards its objective of reusable rockets in 2015. SpaceX landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 successfully. In February 2015, SpaceX initiated the Starlink constellation of low Earth orbit satellites to provide satellite Internet access.
Later, the autonomous spaceport drone ship achieved landing. An autonomous spaceport drone ship is an ocean-based recovery platform.
SpaceX revealed its next-generation spacecraft system and vehicle launch in 2017.
Moreover, SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy in 2018. Falcon Heavy was an inaugural mission that carried a Tesla Roadster as a dummy payload. In the same year, SpaceX announced a planned 2023 lunar circumnavigation mission. The Starlink constellation launched the first two prototype satellites in February 2018.
In May 2019, the second set of test satellites and the first large deployment of a constellation piece occurred. Moreover, the first 60 operational satellites were launched at the same time.
They revealed the dearMoon project – a private space flight. The dearMoon is a lunar tourism mission and art project conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. The flight is expected to occur no earlier than 2023.
In addition to that, SpaceX launched its first human-crewed flight – the Demo-2 in 2020. Demo-2 made SpaceX the first private company to place a person into orbit and dock a crewed spacecraft with the ISS.
SpaceX estimates the cost of the project that took almost 10 years to build and deploys the constellation is almost $10 billion.
Mark Eberhard andMac Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors in July 2003. They financed the company until the Series A round of funding. Mark and Mac developed the company in its early days. Later, in 2004, Elon Musk got interested in the company. He led the Series A round of investment that was conducted in 2004. Musk joined the Tesla Motors board of directors as the chairman.
Elon Musk oversaw the Roadster product design. It was designed in 2006. Moreover, it was the first car produced by Tesla.Inc. Roadster could travel 245 miles (394 km) on a single charge. However, he did not involve himself in the company’s day-to-day operations; he was greatly interested in product design. In 2007 Tesla Motors faced a few conflicts within the board. Eberhard decided to leave the firm after the 2008 financial crisis. Hence, Elon Musk took over the leadership of Tesla Motors as CEO and product architect in 2008. Eberhard filed a lawsuit against Musk when he was recognized as a co-founder in 2009. Tarpenning and two others also filed a suit. However, it was settled.
In 2008, Tesla built the first electric sports car, the Roadster. The company sold 2,500 vehicles, yet it was the first serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells. It was unique.
By 2010, Tesla began trading its IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). Tesla began gaining fame all over the world by then. It raised about $226 million on shares.
Elon was listed on the Forbes Billionaire List in 2012. His net worth was $2 billion in 2012.
The company began the Model 3 car soon after. They released it in 2017.
In 2018, Elon Musk agreed he will not receive a salary from Tesla. Instead, he tied his earnings to Tesla’s valuation and revenue as a compensation plan. The board agreed to the plan. Musk receives compensation if Tesla reaches certain market values. In May 2020, when the company reached its targets, Musk was eligible to purchase 1.69 million TSLA shares. That was about 1% of the shares.
Musk stayed until 2019 and was recognized as the longest-tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally. In the same year, Musk unveiled the Cybertruck. The Cybertrusk is an all-electric pickup truck. In addition to that, Tesla constructed multiple lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicle subassembly factories. An example would be Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and Gigafactory 3 in China.
By March 2020, Tesla.Inc became the world’s best-selling electric car. It delivered more than 500,000 units. Model Y was the fifth vehicle. It got launched in 2020 too.
Moreover, the company’s stock had significantly risen. It became the more valuable carmaker in summer 2020—furthermore, Tesla.Inc entered the S&P 500 during the same year. S&P 500 is a free-float, weighted measurement stock market index of 500 of the largest companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States.
Furthermore, in 2020, Elon became the 35th richest person in the world. His net worth was $27 billion. Later in 2020, his net worth was raised by $150 billion. He owned 20%of Tesla’s stocks. In November 2020, Elon was listed as the second richest man in the world.
Lydon and Peter Rive, Elon’s cousins, founded SolarCity in 2006. Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for it. The company grew to be the second-largest provider of solar power systems in the United States by 2013. Later in 2014, Elon Musk decided to build a SolarCity advanced production facility in Buffalo, New York.
In 2016, Tesla acquired the company for almost $2 billion. Elon converted it into Tesla’s solar division. However, when the deal was announced, there was a 10% drop in Tesla’s stock price. This was because SolarCity faced liquidity issues at that time. Also, Tesla shareholders were not informed. Because of this reason, Tesla shareholders filed a lawsuit against Tesla’s directors and Elon Musk. They claimed that the purchase of SolarCity was made only to benefit Elon Musk. They said Elon’s decision came at the expense of Tesla and its shareholders.
He wanted to make it triple the size of the largest solar plant in the United States. He began constructing the factory in 2017. It was completed in 2017.
Musk acknowledged that Tesla every possible employee from the solar division to work on the Model 3. He said this at a June 2019 court deposition. According to Elon Musk, “as a result, solar suffered.” However, the court’s unsealed documents in 2019 confirmed that Elon knew the company’s liquidity issues. Consequently, the company’s liquidity issues. They left Elon Musk as the sole remaining defendant.
After that, SolarCity operated as a joint venture with Panasonic. However, Panasonic departed later.
Elon Musk founded Neuralink Corporation in 2016. Its headquarters is in San Francisco. Neuralink is a neurotechnology company developing implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Even though the company was launched in 2016 and was first publicly reported in March 2017, he launched the company to integrate the human brain with AI (Artificial Intelligence).
The company aimed to create devices embedded in the human brain to facilitate the merging of the brain with machines. According to Elon, the devices will also reconcile with the latest improvements in artificial intelligence to stay updated. These improvements could enhance memory. Moreover, it also could allow the devices to communicate with software more effectively.
Elon Musk described the device as “a Fitbill in your skull” as a soon cure for paralysis, deafness, blindness, and other disabilities. However, several neuroscientists and publications criticized these claims.
The Boring Company
Elon founded an American infrastructure and tunnel construction services company. It was founded on 14th December 2016. Its headquarters is based in Los Angeles, California.
Later, in 2017, Elon began discussions with regulatory bodies. He initiated the construction of a 30-foot (9.1 m) wide, 50-foot (15 m) long, and 15-foot (4.6 m) deep “test trench” on the premises of SpaceX’s offices.
In 2018, the company sold 2,000 novelty flamethrowers as a merchandising and publicity stunt. Elon was inspired by the Mel Brooks-directed film Spaceballs (1987) and went ahead with the idea.
In 2020, the company completed a tunnel beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center. Later, local officials have approved further expansions of the tunnel system.
Musk was sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2018. He was sued for a tweet that claimed funding had been secured for potentially taking Tesla private.
They claimed that Elon Musk held verbal discussions with foreign investors in July 2018. However, it did not confirm key deal terms. Therefore, it characterized the tweet as false, misleading, and damaging to investors. In addition to that, they asked Musk to step down from serving as CEO of publicly traded companies. In response, Elon Musk said the allegations are unjustified. Moreover, he claimed he had never compromised his integrity.
Elon Musk settled with the SEC two days after the lawsuit was filed. However, he did not admit, nor did he deny the SEC allegations. Consequently, Musk and Tesla.Inc was fined $20 million each. Moreover, Elon Musk was forced to step down for three years as Tesla chairman. However, he was able to remain as CEO. Elon said he does not regret the tweet that triggered the SEC investigation.
Musk stated in a tweet on 19th February 2019 that Tesla would build half a million cars in 2019. SEC reacted to that yet again. They filed a case in court claiming Elon violated the terms of a settlement agreement with such a tweet. However, Elon Musk settled the issue by a joint agreement. The previous agreement details were also clarified. Musk and SEC agreed on a list of topics that would need preclearance before tweeting about. Furthermore, a judge prevented a lawsuit in May 2020. The lawsuit claimed Elon Musk violated an agreement regarding Tesla’s stock price.
In January 2021, Elon Musk became the richest person in the world.