Elon Musk Biography (Who is Elon Musk?)
Elon Reeve Musk is a business magnate and investor. He is the founder, CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX; angel investor, CEO, and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; owner and CEO of Twitter; founder of the Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI; and president of the philanthropic Musk Foundation. With an estimated net worth of around $192 billion as of March 27, 2023, primarily from his ownership stakes in Tesla and SpaceX, Musk is the second-wealthiest person in the world, according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes’s real-time billionaires list.
Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and briefly attended at the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at age 18, acquiring citizenship through his Canadian-born mother. Two years later, he matriculated at Queen’s University and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics. He moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University. After two days, he dropped out and, with his brother Kimbal, co-founded the online city guide software company Zip2. In 1999, Zip2 was acquired by Compaq for $307 million and Musk co-founded X.com, a direct bank. X.com merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk received an EB-5 investor green card in 1997, which led to his U.S. citizenship in 2002.
With $175.8 million, Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, a spaceflight services company. In 2004, he was an early investor in the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, Inc. (Tesla, Inc.). He became its chairman and product architect, assuming the position of CEO in 2008. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy company that was later acquired by Tesla and became Tesla Energy. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company. The following year, he co-founded Neuralink—a neurotechnology company developing brain–computer interfaces—and the Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. Musk has also proposed a hyperloop high-speed vactrain transportation system. In 2022, his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion was completed.
Musk has made controversial statements on politics and technology, particularly on Twitter, and is a polarizing figure. He has been criticized for making unscientific and misleading statements, including spreading COVID-19 misinformation. In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk for falsely tweeting that he had secured funding for a private takeover of Tesla. Musk stepped down as chairman of Tesla and paid a $20 million fine as part of a settlement agreement with the SEC.
|Full Name||Elon Reeve Musk|
|Date of Birth (DOB)||June 28, 1971|
|Birth Place||Pretoria, South Africa|
|Current Residence||Austin, Texas|
|Father Name||Errol Musk|
|Mother Name||Maye Musk|
|Marital Status||In Relationship|
|Wives||Justine Wilson (Married in 2000 and separated in 2008) |
Talulah Riley ((Married in 2010 and separated in 2016)
|In Relationship||Claire Elise Boucher, known professionally as Grimes|
|Education||University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Queen’s University, Ontario|
|Citizenship||South Africa (1971–present), Canada (1971–present), United States (2002–present)|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Industrial Designer, Engineer|
|Title||Founder, CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX|
CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.
CEO of Twitter
Founder and CEO of X Corp. and X.AI
President of the Musk Foundation
Founder of the Boring Company
Co-founder of Neuralink, OpenAI, Zip2 and X.com (part of PayPal)
|Net Worth||$264.9 billion USD (2022)|
|Source of Wealth||Tesla, SpaceX, Self Made|
Childhood and Family
Elon Musk (Elon Reeve Musk) was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. His father is Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer. His mother is Maye Musk a Canadian model and dietitian. But they divorced when Elon Musk was 10 and lived primarily with his father. He has a younger brother, Kimbal (born 1972), and a younger sister, Tosca (born 1974).
He used to do self-learning from a young age, he spends hours reading a book and was also an avid fan of comics. At the age of 10, he developed an interest in computing while using the Commodore VIC-20. He learned computer programming using a manual and, by age 12, sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine for approximately $500.
He was unusual, introverted, bullied throughout his childhood, and was once hospitalized for a week after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs. “I had a terrible upbringing. I had a lot of adversity growing up. One thing I worry about with my kids is they don’t face enough adversity,” he would later say in an interview.
He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School before graduating from Pretoria Boys High School. In 1989, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left South Africa and move to Canada because his aim was to go to the United States. Although his father insisted that he attend college in Pretoria, Musk was determined to move to the United States, saying, “I remember thinking and seeing that America is where great things are possible, more than any other country in the world.”
In June 1989, Musk moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University and avoid mandatory service in the South African military. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania; he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in physics.
In 1994, Musk held two internships in Silicon Valley during the summer: at an energy storage start-up called Pinnacle Research Institute, which researched electrolytic ultracapacitors for energy storage, and at the Palo Alto-based start-up Rocket Science Games.
After leaving Pennsylvania, Musk headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a Ph.D. in energy physics/materials science. He dropped out of Stanford after two days, deciding instead to join the Internet boom and launch an internet startup. He launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation in 1995 with his brother. Also, Musk became a U.S. citizen in 2002.
Wives and Children
Musk has been married twice. He met his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson, while both were students at Ontario’s Queen’s University. They married in 2000 and separated in 2008. They had six children together but their first son died at the age of 10 weeks from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
In 2008, Musk began dating English actress Talulah Riley, and in 2010, the couple married. They split in 2012 but married each other again in 2013. In December 2014, Musk filed for a second divorce and the divorce was finalized in late 2016.
On May 7, 2018, Musk and Canadian musician Grimes revealed that they were dating. Grimes gave birth to a son on May 4, 2020, and Musk and Grimes, announced that they had named “X Æ A-12”.
However, the name was deemed illegal under California law, because it contained characters that are not in the modern English alphabet, and was then changed to “X Æ A-Xii”. This drew more confusion, as Æ is not a letter in the modern English alphabet. The child was eventually named “X AE A-XII”, with “X” as a first name and “AE A-XII” as a middle name.
Companies & Business Career
In 1995, Musk, his brother Kimbal, and Greg Kouri founded the web software company Zip2 with funds from a group of angel investors. The company developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry, with maps, directions, and yellow pages.
They housed the venture at a small rented office in Palo Alto and worked on one computer. Before the company became successful, Musk could not afford an apartment, instead of sleeping on the office couch and showering at the YMCA.
They could only afford one computer and, according to Musk, “The website was up to during the day and I was coding it at night, seven days a week, all the time.” Their efforts, hard work, and dedication materialized when the Musk brothers obtained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Musk’s attempts to become CEO were thwarted by the board. In February 1999, Compaq acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash. Musk received $22 million for his 7 percent share from the sale.
X.com and PayPal
In March 1999, Elon and Kimbal Musk used their money to found X.com an online financial services and e-mail payment company. One year later, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money-transfer service called PayPal. In October 2000, Musk was ousted from his role as CEO due to disagreements with other company executives over his desire to move PayPal’s Unix-based infrastructure to a Microsoft one.
In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received $165 million. Before its sale, Musk, who was the company’s largest shareholder, owned 11.7% of PayPal’s shares. In 2017, Musk purchased the domain X.com from PayPal for an undisclosed amount, explaining that it had sentimental value to him.
Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, traded as SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel and Mars colony to save human existence.
Before creating the SpaceX company, Musk traveled with a group to Moscow to buy refurbished Dnepr Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could send the greenhouse payloads into space. He met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras; however, the deal could not be done.
In February 2002, the group returned to Russia to look for three ICBMs but the company offered one rocket for $8 million, which Musk rejected. Then he decided to start a company that could build affordable rockets with $100 million of his early fortune and founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp., traded as SpaceX.
On May 25, 2012, the SpaceX Dragon vehicle berthed with the ISS, making history as the first commercial company to launch and berth a vehicle to the International Space Station. Working towards its goal of reusable rockets, in December 2015, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket back near the launch pad, the first time this had been achieved by an orbital rocket.
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in operation and the rocket with the fifth-highest thrust ever built. In July 2018, Space X enjoyed the successful landing of a new Block 5 Falcon rocket, which touched down on a drone ship less than 9 minutes after liftoff.
In May 2020, SpaceX launched its first manned flight, the Demo-2, becoming the first private company to both place a person into orbit and dock a crewed space-craft with the ISS.
Starlink Internet Satellites
SpaceX began the development of the Starlink constellation of low Earth orbit satellites in 2015. In late March 2018, SpaceX received permission from the U.S. government to launch a fleet of satellites into low orbit for the purpose of providing Internet service.
SpaceX launched the first batch of 60 satellites in May 2019 and followed with another payload of 60 satellites that November. The total cost of the decade-long project to design, build, and deploy the constellation is estimated by SpaceX to be about $10 billion, including nearly $900 million in Federal Communications Commission subsidies.
Musk is the co-founder, CEO, and product architect at Tesla Motors, a company formed in July 2003 that is dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars as well as battery products and solar roofs. As of 2019, Elon Musk is the longest-tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally.
In March 2008, Tesla built an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, and sold 2,500 vehicles to 31 countries. It was the first serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells. In June 2012 Tesla began delivery of its four-door Model S sedan. Although it unveiled its third product, the Model X, in February 2012, the launch was delayed until September 2015. The Model 3 was officially launched in early 2019. As of March 2020, the Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling electric car, with more than 500,000 units delivered.
In 2014, Musk announced that Tesla would allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith in a bid to entice automobile manufacturers to speed up the development of electric cars. In November 2019, Musk unveiled the Tesla Cybertruck, an all-electric pickup truck.
As of January 29, 2016, Musk owned about 28.9 million Tesla shares, which equated to about 22% of the company. And as of December 31, 2019, Musk owns 38,658,670 shares or 20.8% of all Tesla shares.
Musk provided the initial concept and financial capital for SolarCity, which his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive co-founded in 2006. He is a majority shareholder in each entity. By 2013, SolarCity was the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States.
In August 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity for over $2 billion. The announcement of the deal resulted in a more than 10% drop in Tesla’s stock price. Because at the time, SolarCity was facing liquidity issues, and Musk and Tesla’s directors acquired SolarCity without informing Tesla shareholders. Consequently, multiple shareholder groups have filed a lawsuit against Musk and Tesla’s directors.
In January 2020, Tesla directors settled the lawsuit and leaving Musk the sole remaining defendant. Because the court has confirmed that Musk was also aware of the company’s liquidity issues.
In 2016, Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology start-up company to integrate the human brain with AI. The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.
The Boring Company
On December 17, 2016, while stuck in traffic, Musk tweeted “I am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging …” He then founded ‘The Boring Company’ (TBC). On January 21, 2017, Musk tweeted “Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.” Discussions with regulatory bodies began in January 2017.
In February 2017, the company began digging 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 Space X’s offices in Los Angeles, since the construction requires no permits. A tunnel beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center was completed in early 2020. Local officials have approved further expansions of the tunnel system.
Musk expressed interest in buying Twitter as early as 2017 and had previously questioned the platform’s commitment to freedom of speech. In January 2022, Musk started purchasing Twitter shares, reaching a 9.2% stake by April, making him the largest shareholder. When this was publicly disclosed, Twitter shares experienced the largest intraday price surge since the company’s 2013 IPO. On April 4, Musk agreed to a deal that would appoint him to Twitter’s board of directors and prohibit him from acquiring more than 14.9% of the company.
Other Inventions & Innovations
In August 2013, Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system called the “Hyperloop,” an invention that would foster commuting between major cities while severely cutting travel time.
Although he introduced the Hyperloop with claims that it would be safer than a plane or train, with an estimated cost of $6 billion. Musk noted that the Hyperloop could take from seven to 10 years to be built and ready for use.
In 2015, Musk co-founded OpenAI, a not-for-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research company aiming to develop artificial general intelligence intended to be safe and beneficial to humanity. A particular focus of the company is to democratize artificial superintelligence systems, against governments and corporations. In 2018, Musk left the OpenAI board to avoid possible future conflicts with his role as CEO of Tesla as the latter company increasingly became involved in AI through Tesla Autopilot. Since then, OpenAI has made significant advances in machine learning, producing neural networks such as GPT-3 (producing human-like text), and DALL-E (generating digital images from natural language descriptions).
However, on April 13, Musk made a $43 billion offer to buy Twitter, launching a takeover bid to buy 100% of Twitter’s stock at $54.20 per share. In response, Twitter’s board adopted a “poison pill” shareholder rights plan to make it more expensive for any single investor to own more than 15% of the company without board approval. Nevertheless, by the end of the month Musk had successfully concluded his bid for approximately $44 billion. This included about $12.5 billion in loans against his Tesla stock and $21 billion in equity financing.
List of Awards received by Elon Musk:
- Entrepreneur of the Year (2007) for his work on Tesla and SpaceX
- Index Design award (2007) for his design of the Tesla Roadster
- National Conservation Achievement award (2008) for Tesla and SolarCity
- Awarded the US$250,000 Heinlein Prize (2011) for Advances in Space Commercialization
- Royal Aeronautical Society’s highest award: a gold medal (2012)
- Awarded the President’s award (2014) for Exploration and Technology of the Explorers Club
- Edison Achievement Award (2014) for his “commitment to innovation throughout his career
- Oslo Business for Peace Award (2017)
- Starmus Festival’s Stephen Hawking Medal (2019) for Science Communication
- Axel Springer Award (2020)
- Awarded with the Medal of Order of Merit (2022) for Defense by the Brazilian government after negotiating the launch of the Starlink internet service in the Amazon rainforest
Elon Musk FAQ:
Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971.
Elon Musk co-founded the electronic payment firm PayPal and founded the spacecraft company SpaceX. He became chief executive officer of the electric-car maker Tesla.
Elon Musk went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX, a company that makes rockets and spacecraft. He became the chief executive officer and a major funder of Tesla, which makes electric cars.
Elon Musk says he works more than 120 hours a week and if there is a lot of work at times, he sleeps on his factory floor.
Elon Musk says he sleeps 6 hours a day.
Tesla Inc. was invented by Elon Musk, JB Straubel, Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, and Ian Wright.
As of 2022, Elon Musk owns 175 million shares, or 17% of all Tesla shares.