Little was known about Elon Musk until he was declared the wealthiest person on earth in January 2021. His net worth is estimated to be about $174 billion, making him among the world's richest people. He is an entrepreneur, engineer, industrial designer, founder, and co-founder of companies like PayPal and Tesla. He has founded companies like The Boring Company, Neuralink which is developing equipment for treating paralysis, and Hyperloop.
Elon Musk's Early Life
Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother Maye Musk is a Canadian and a model and a dietitian while his father Errol Musk is a South African and an electromechanical engineer. His parents divorced in 1980 and he opted to stay with his father for two years, a decision he regrets. He is a South African since birth. He later acquired Canadian citizenship and then U.S citizenship in 2002.
Musk developed an interest in technology at a tender age. He started developing computer programs at an age of 10. At 12, he sold a video game code he had developed for $500. In his childhood, Elon Musk was an introvert and he got bullied in school and at one point he was hospitalized after some boys pushed him down the stairs.
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Elon Musk moved to Canada at an age of 17 to avoid mandatory South African military service, he hot enrolled in Queen’s University in Canada. He later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 for an undergraduate degree in Economics and graduated in 1997. He stayed longer for a second bachelor’s degree in Physics.
After completing his second bachelor’s degree, he enrolled in Stanford University, where he pursued Ph.D in Energy Physics. He dropped out of school after two years before completing his Ph.D. Musk applied to join Netscape but never received a response and decided to start Zip2, an internet startup company. At the time, there was an internet boom.
Elon Musk’s Wives and Children
Elon Musk has been married twice and his first wife is Justine Wilson whom he married in 2000. They have six children with Justine, while their firstborn died at 10 weeks due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Elon Musk’s children include twins Griffin and Xavier born in 2004 and triplets Kai, Saxon, and Damian born in 2006. Musk and Justine divorced.
Musk married Talulah Riley, an actress in 2010 but later divorced in 2016. Since then, Musk started dated Amber Heard in 2016 and broke up due to their busy schedules in 2018. The same year, Musk started dating Grimes, a musician. Musk and Grimes got a son on May 4, 2020. They named him "X Æ A-12." But the state of California declined the name since it had letters. They renamed him "X Æ A-Xii."
Companies Founded by Elon Musk
Zip2 was Elon Musk’s first company which he founded in 1995 in a small office in Palo Alto. He founded it with his brother Kimbal Musk and Greg Kouri. He got the startup capital through angel investors. At the time, Musk could not afford an apartment and he would sleep n the office and take a shower in YMCA. The website was up to during the day and off during the night when he would code the website.
The company’s mandate was to provide content for websites like The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. In 1999, Musk sold the company to Compaq Computer Corporation for $307 million and $22 million stock.
PayPay is an American fintech company Elon Musk co-founded in 1999. At the time, it was known as X.com and had over 200,000 customers months after its establishment. Investors in the company saw Musk as an inexperienced CEO and had him replaced with Bill Harris.
X.com merged with Confinity, an online bank to avoid unnecessary competition and formed PayPal. It is then that Musk became the CEO and his preference for Microsoft software made Thiel, one of the founders of Confinity to resign. Musk owned 11.7% of PayPal shares. In 2002, Musk made a fortune when PayPal was acquired by eBay and Musk received $100 million.
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Elon Musk started SpaceX Company after failing to secure a deal to buy rockets in Russia. He started the company to start building affordable rockets. He developed Falcon 1 that was able to reach Erath orbit in 2008. SpaceX was awarded a contract by NASA to transport cargo to the International Space Station. In 2012, SpaceX launched Falcon 9 rocket into the space station, becoming the first private company to land in Space.
Through Starlink, Musk has managed to set up satellites in the orbit, which has made it easy to access the internet in rural areas.
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Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors, a company involved in the manufacture of electric cars. It also manufactures solar roofs and battery products. He is the engineer who oversees the design of Tesla’s products. In 2008, Tesla manufactured a car that can travel for 250 miles using a lithium ion battery.
The Boring Company
Elon Musk launched The Boring Company in January 2017 that is drilling tunnels to help in underground transportation. The company’s move is to ease traffic congestion on the roads. The company received a contract to drill an underground tunnel that would help people move around Las Vegas Convention Center.
Hyperloop was founded in 2013, to help people to commute between different cities within the shortest time. The mode of transport is resistant to weather and is powered using renewable energy. Through it, people can travel at a speed of 700 mph in pressure tubes.