Entrepreneur Elon Musk has gained worldwide recognition as the CEO of the private space enterprise SpaceX and the creator of electric vehicles, Tesla Inc. (TSLA). Musk co-founded PayPal (PYPL), invested early in a number of Internet firms, and started talks to take Twitter Inc. (TWTR) private in April 2022.
His accomplishments and distinctive personality have led to comparisons to other colourful businessmen from American history, such as Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, and Henry Ford. As of June 2022, his estimated net worth was $220 billion, making him the richest man in the world. 1 Musk first attained the title in 2021, beating Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
Childhood and Education
Elon Reeve Musk, the oldest of three children, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971. His mother was a Canadian model and nutritionist, and his father was an engineer from South Africa. 34 Musk spent much of his time with his father after his parents’ 1980 divorce. In a later statement, he would call his father “a terrible human being… practically every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done.”
Musk’s Years in College
Musk immigrated to Canada at age 17. Later, he would become a citizen of Canada thanks to his mother.
Musk migrated to Canada and enrolled at Kingston, Ontario’s Queen’s University. There, an ambitious writer named Justine Wilson was introduced to him. Before divorcing in 2008, they would be married and produce five sons—twins and triplets—together.
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Getting into the U.S.
Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania after spending two years at Queen’s University. Despite taking on two majors, he didn’t spend all of his time studying. He acquired a 10-bedroom fraternity house with a classmate, which they converted into a temporary nightclub.
Musk received two degrees from the Wharton School: a bachelor of arts in economics and a bachelor of science in physics.
Although Musk’s career was anticipated by his two majors, physics had the greatest impact.
He would subsequently remark that “physics is a good context for thinking.” “Reduce things to their simplest forms, then argue from there.”
At the age of 24, Musk relocated to California to attend Stanford University to work toward a doctorate in applied physics. However, with the growth of Silicon Valley and the Internet, Musk had business ideas dancing in his head. After only two days, he dropped out of the PhD programme.
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In 1995, Musk founded Zip2, a web software company that assisted newspapers in creating online city guides, with the assistance of his younger brother Kimbal and $15,000 in his bank account.
For $341 million, Compaq Computer Corp. purchased Zip2 in 1999.
17 Before the word “fintech” was widely used, Musk founded X.com with the money from the Zip2 purchase.
Confinity, a company that specialised in money transfers, and X.com merged to form PayPal. Prior to eBay (EBAY) purchasing the payments startup for $1.5 billion, Peter Thiel fired Musk as CEO of PayPal, although Musk still benefited from the acquisition thanks to his 11.7 percent ownership share in the company. In a 2018 interview, Musk stated that his PayPal earnings after taxes came to roughly $180 million. “That money was invested in SpaceX with $100 million, Tesla with $70 million, and SolarCity with $10 million. In fact, I had to borrow money to pay my rent.”
In 2004, Musk joined the team, along with engineer Martin Eberhard, to help run what was then known as Tesla Motors as an early investor. Musk ended up investing a total of about $6.3 million in the venture. Eberhard was fired in 2007 after a string of conflicts, and a temporary CEO was hired until Musk took over as CEO and product architect. Tesla, one of his most well-known brands, has grown to be the most valuable automaker in the world.
Thanks to its acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla continues to have a significant footprint in the solar energy industry in addition to making electric vehicles. At the moment, the business makes two rechargeable solar batteries. The bigger Powerpack is designed for business or electric utility grid use, while the smaller Powerwall was created for household backup power and off-the-grid use.
Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, with the majority of the money he received from his PayPal investment. Musk claims that he invested $100 million towards the establishment of SpaceX in 2002.
Under Musk’s direction, SpaceX won a number of high-profile contracts to design space launch rockets for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Air Force. In a joint effort with NASA, Musk has made public ambitions to deploy an astronaut to Mars by 2025.
Musk, a regular messager on the platform, revealed in April 2022 that he owned a 9.2 percent investment in Twitter.
Musk accepted Twitter’s offer to join the board after the company replied by doing so, but he then withdrew his acceptance.
Musk then proposed to purchase Twitter from its board in a “bear hug” letter for $54.20 per share.
The board of directors of Twitter enacted a “poison pill” clause to prevent Musk from acquiring an even larger share in the company, but they ultimately decided to accept his bid after he revealed $46.5 billion in committed financing for the transaction in a securities filing.
On September 7, 2018, Musk smoked marijuana while being interviewed on a podcast on camera.
Just one month prior, Musk made the publically notorious assertion in a tweet that he was considering taking Tesla private and had the necessary cash.
Following this, Musk paid a $20 million fine along with the same penalty for Tesla and agreed to let Tesla’s lawyers approve tweets containing material corporate information before posting them. The SEC had claimed that Musk had intentionally misled investors with the tweet.
Musk filed a court move to vacate the consent order resulting from that case in March 2022.
During a live TED Talk in April 2022, Musk referred to the SEC officials overseeing the case as “bastards.”