Elon Musk is a fearless entrepreneur working towards revolutionising earth and space transportation. He is a citizen of South Africa, Canada and United States. Musk is the Founder, Lead Designer and CEO of SpaceX and the Boring Company. He co-founded Tesla Inc., Neuralink, Open Al and PayPal.
Elon Musk Background
Elon Reeve Musk was born on the 28th of June, 1971 to a Canadian mother, Maye Musk and South African father, Errol Musk. He was born in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa as the first born of the family and he has two younger siblings, Kimbal and Tosca.
Elon Musk lived with his father in Pretoria, after his parents divorced in 1980. He has an American-born Canadian maternal grandfather, Dr Joshua Haldeman and a British Paternal Grandmother. Elon also has a Pennsylvanian Dutch ancestry.
Elon Musk Education
Musk was raised in Pretoria, South Africa by his Paternal grandfather. He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High school and later moved to Pretoria Boys High School where he graduated.
At the age of 17, Musk against his father’s wish migrated to Canada to attend the Queen University. Elon later moved in 1992 to the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in Physics and Economics in 1995. Later on, Musk moved to Stanford University, California for PhD in Energy Physics. This was at a time when there was the dotcom boom, and Elon took advantage of this opportunity and started Zip2 Corporation, his first startup.
Elon Musk Business Ventures
Musk developed interest in computing at a young age with a vested interest in computer programming. So, at age 12, he already developed a program called ‘Blastar’, a code of a basic-based video game which he sold to PC and Office Technology magazine for about $500.
In 1995, Musk founded Zip2, a web software company along with his brother Kimbal with money raised from angel investors. The software company developed and marketed internet city guide and direction services for online Newspapers. Eventually, it was acquired by Compaq in 1999 for $307 million and Musk received $22 million for the seven percent shares he owned in the company.
X-com and Paypal
In 1999, Elon Musk co-founded X.com, an online financial service and e-mail payment company with $10 million from the $22 million he received from his shares in Zip2. The company merged with Confinity, which has a money transfer service called Paypal. After the merger, the company was then renamed Paypal in 2001.
In 2002, Paypal was acquired by e-bay and Musk received $165 million of the $1.5 billion stock sales. However, Elon in 2017 eventually bought the initial domain X.com again from ebay saying it had a sentimental value to him.
In May 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, a space Exploration Technologies with $100 million. The company manufactures space launch vehicles in order to advance rocket technology. SpaceX launch vehicles are Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets (a nod to star war’s millennium falcons), and Dragon (a spacecraft designed to carry supplies to the space).
Within the space of seven years, SpaceX designed the family of Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon multipurpose spacecraft. In September 2008, Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit. Also in May 2012, the company became the first commercial company to launch a vehicle to the International Space Station.
Elon Musk is the CEO and Chief Technology Officer of SpaceX.
Tesla Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors) is an American automotive and energy company, incorporated by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in July 2003. Tesla is a company whose name is a tribute to an engineer, Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk joined the company as one of the Board of Directors in 2004 and later became the CEO.
Tesla specialises in the manufacturing of electric cars and solar panel through its solar city subsidiary. It operates multiple production and assembly plant such as gigafactory 1, near Reno, Nevada with the main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory located in Fremont, California.
The company also sells power wall and power pack batteries, and some other related products.
Elon Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity and in 2006, he co-founded the company with his cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rive. SolarCity specializes in solar energy services with its headquarter in San Mateo California. In 2013, it became the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. SolarCity was acquired by Tesla and became a full subsidiary of Tesla Inc. in 2016.
Elon Musk is the CEO of Neuralink, a neurotechnology start up created to integrate human brain with artificial intelligence. The company is developing devices that can be implanted into the human brain to enhance memory. The devices will also help the human brain keep pace with advancement in artificial intelligence.
In December 2015, Elon Musk announced the creation of Open Al, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence research company which aims to develop safe artificial intelligence in such a way that is beneficial to humans. The company is created to counteract the actions of organisations who may gain too much power from owning super -intelligent systems devoted to profits and governments who may use AI to gain power and oppress their citizens.
The Boring Company
Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of the Boring Company, a company with technology and systems combating transportation congestion. The company began operation in 2016 as a subsidiary of SpaceX before separation in 2018.
Elon Musk Net Worth
According to Forbes, Elon Musk net worth as at June 2019 is $19.3B.
Elon Musk Philanthropy
Elon Musk is the chairman of the Musk Foundation, a philanthropic foundation whose mission is to provide solar-power energy systems to communities and disaster areas. Here are some of their activities:
- In 2010, the Foundation collaborated with SolarCity to donate a 25KW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance’s hurricane Response Centre in Coden Alabama.
- 2011, he donated $250,000 towards a solar power project in Soma, Japan, a city devastated by a tsunami.
- 2014, Elon donated $1 million towards the Tesla Science Centre, Wardenclyffe and further pledged to build a Tesla Supercharger in the museum car park.
- In 2015, he donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute, to run a global research program interested in improving the benefits of artificial intelligence to humanity.
- As of 2015, Elon Musk is a trustee of the X-prize Foundation and a signatory of The Giving Pledge Foundation
- In 2015, Musk gave 1.2 million Tesla shares to his foundation, which spent $480,000 in October 2018 to provide new water fountains with access to clean drinking water to schools in Flint, Michigan.
Elon Musk Personal Life
Elon Musk got married in 2000 to Justine Wilson, a Canadian Author he met at the Queen university, Ontario, Canada. They had a son Nevada Musk who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 10 weeks after he was born. Elon and Justine later had five sons through in vitro fertilization; twins in 2004, then triplets in 2006. In 2008, they divorced with shared custody of all their five sons.
Musk started dating Talulah Riley, an English actress in 2008 and in 2010 they got married. In January 2012, Musk announced an end to his four-year relationship with Riley on twitter but in 2013, the couples remarried. Musk and Talulah later divorced in 2016 after several divorce attempt.
Elon also dated Amber Heard an American actress but the relationship ended because of their conflicting schedules and in May 2018, Elon revealed his love affair with a Canadian musician, Grimes.
Awards and Recognition
- Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, 2006.
- Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine for his work in Tesla and SpaceX, 2007.
- Global Green Product design award for his design of the Tesla Roadster, By Mikhail Gorbachev in 2006.
- Index Design Award for his design of the Tesla Roadster, 2007.
- One of Time’s 100 people who affected the world in 2010.
- One of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st century by Esquire Magazine
- Living Legend of Aviation by the Kitty Hawk Foundation for creating the successor to the Space Shuttle (Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft), 2010
- America’s 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under, Forbes, 2011
- Elon Musk received an award of The US$250,000 Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization in 2011
- Royal Aeronautical Society’s highest award: A Gold Medal in 2012
- The Fortune Business Person of the year for SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla in 2013
- The President’s award for Exploration and Technology of the Explorers Club, 2014.
- IEEE Honorary Membership Award, 2015
- 21st Most Powerful People In The World according to Forbes, 2016
- Elon Musk received The Oslo Business for Peace Award in 2017
- 24th on the 2018 Forbes 400, 2018
- The World Most Powerful 25th Person, Forbes 2018
- Elon Musk elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018.
- 40th World Billionaire according to Forbes, 2019
- The 12th Richest Technologist in the world, Forbes 2019