Who Is Elon Musk? What Are His Businesses?

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has achieved world fame because the chief govt (CEO) of electrical autos maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA) and CEO of the non-public house firm SpaceX. Musk co-founded PayPal (PYPL), was an early investor in a number of tech firms, and in October 2022 he accomplished a deal to take Twitter Inc. non-public.

His success and private model has given rise to comparisons to different colourful tycoons from U.S. historical past, together with Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, and Henry Ford. He was named the richest individual on this planet with an estimated internet value of $212 billion as of October 2022. Musk first achieved that distinction in 2021, surpassing Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos.

Let’s look briefly on the lifetime of the person who has scaled the head of the enterprise world.

Key Takeaways

  • Elon Musk is the charismatic CEO of electrical automotive maker Tesla and rocket producer SpaceX.
  • Following a contested course of, Musk accomplished a deal to purchase Twitter in October 2022, turning into the proprietor of the social media firm.
  • Born and raised in South Africa, Musk hung out in Canada earlier than transferring to the U.S.
  • Educated on the College of Pennsylvania in physics, Musk began getting his toes moist as a serial tech entrepreneur with early successes like Zip2 and X.com, which merged with an organization that grew to become PayPal.
  • Musk has behaved eccentrically every so often. He has mentioned he has Asperger’s syndrome.
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Investopedia / Bailey Mariner

Early Life and Training

Elon Reeve Musk was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, the oldest of three youngsters. His father was a South African engineer, his mom a Canadian mannequin and nutritionist. After his dad and mom divorced in 1980, Musk lived primarily along with his father. He would later dub his father “a horrible human being … nearly each evil factor you could possibly presumably consider, he has achieved.”

“I had a horrible upbringing. I had a variety of adversity rising up. One factor I fear about with my children is they do not face sufficient adversity,” Musk would later say.

Bullied as a Youngster

Musk attended the non-public, English-speaking Waterkloof Home Preparatory Faculty—he began a yr early—and later graduated from Pretoria Boys Excessive Faculty. A self-described bookworm, he made few mates in these locations.

“They acquired my greatest (expletive) good friend to lure me out of hiding so they may beat me up. And that (expletive) damage,” Musk mentioned. “For some motive, they determined that I used to be it, and so they had been going to go after me nonstop. That is what made rising up tough. For a variety of years, there was no respite. You get chased round by gangs at college who tried to beat the (expletive) out of me, after which I would come dwelling, and it could simply be terrible there as effectively.”

Early Accomplishments

Know-how grew to become an escape for Musk. At 10, he grew to become acquainted with programming utilizing a Commodore VIC-20, an early and comparatively cheap dwelling pc. Earlier than lengthy, Musk had grow to be proficient sufficient to create Blastar—a online game within the model of Area Invaders. He offered the BASIC code for the sport to a PC journal for $500.

In a single telling incident from his childhood, Musk and his brother deliberate to open a online game arcade close to their faculty. Their dad and mom nixed the plan.

Musk’s Faculty Years

At 17, Musk moved to Canada. He would later receive Canadian citizenship by means of his mom.

After emigrating to Canada, Musk enrolled in Queen’s College in Kingston, Ontario. It was there that he met Justine Wilson, an aspiring author. They’d marry and have 5 sons collectively, twins and triplets, earlier than divorcing in 2008.

Coming into the U.S.

After two years at Queen’s College, Musk transferred to the College of Pennsylvania. He took on two majors, however his time there wasn’t all work and no play. With a fellow pupil, he purchased a 10-bedroom fraternity home, which they used as an advert hoc nightclub.

Musk graduated with a bachelor of science diploma in physics, along with a bachelor of arts in economics from the Wharton Faculty. The 2 majors foreshadowed Musk’s profession, however it was physics that left the deepest impression.

“(Physics is) a superb framework for pondering,” he would say later. “Boil issues all the way down to their basic truths and motive up from there.”

Notable Accomplishments

Musk was 24 years outdated when he moved to California to pursue a Ph.D. in utilized physics at Stanford College. However, with the web exploding and Silicon Valley booming, Musk had entrepreneurial visions dancing in his head. He left the Ph.D. program after simply two days.


In 1995, with $15,000 and his youthful brother Kimbal at his facet, Musk began Zip2, an internet software program firm that might assist newspapers develop on-line metropolis guides.

In 1999, Zip2 was acquired by Compaq Laptop Corp. for $341 million. Musk used his Zip2 buyout cash to create X.com, a fintech enterprise earlier than that time period was in extensive circulation.

X.com merged with a cash switch agency referred to as Confinity, and the ensuing firm got here to be generally known as PayPal. Peter Thiel ousted Musk as PayPal’s CEO earlier than eBay (EBAY) purchased the funds firm for $1.5 billion, however Musk nonetheless profited from the buyout through his 11.7% PayPal stake. “My proceeds from PayPal after tax had been about $180 million,” Musk mentioned in a 2018 interview. “$100 million of that went into SpaceX, $70 million into Tesla, and $10 million into SolarCity. And I actually needed to borrow cash for hire.”

In 2017, Musk bought the X.com area title again from PayPal, citing its sentimental worth.


Musk grew to become concerned with the electrical automobiles enterprise as an early investor in 2004, in the end contributing about $6.3 million to start with and joined the workforce, together with engineer Martin Eberhard, to assist run an organization then generally known as Tesla Motors. Following a sequence of disagreements, Eberhard was ousted in 2007, and an interim CEO was employed till Musk assumed management as CEO and product architect. Below his watch, Tesla has grow to be the world’s most respected automaker.

Along with producing electrical automobiles, Tesla maintains a sturdy presence within the photo voltaic power house, due to its acquisition of SolarCity. The corporate at present produces two rechargeable photo voltaic batteries. The smaller Powerwall was developed for dwelling backup energy and off-the-grid use, whereas the bigger Powerpack is meant for business or electrical utility grid use.


Musk used a lot of the proceeds from his PayPal stake to discovered Area Exploration Applied sciences Company, the rockets developer generally generally known as SpaceX. By his personal account, Musk spent $100 million to discovered SpaceX in 2002.

Below Musk’s management, SpaceX landed a number of high-profile contracts with the U.S. Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Air Power to design house launch rockets. Musk has publicized plans to ship an astronaut to Mars by 2025 in a collaborative effort with NASA.


A frequent poster on the messaging community, Musk disclosed a 9.2% stake in Twitter in April 2022. Twitter responded by providing Musk a seat on the board, which he accepted earlier than declining days later. Musk then despatched a “bear hug” letter to Twitter’s board proposing to purchase the corporate at $54.20 per share.

Twitter’s board adopted a poison tablet provision to discourage Musk from accumulating a good bigger stake, however they in the end accepted Musk’s provide after he disclosed $46.5 billion in dedicated financing for the deal in a securities submitting. In July 2022, Musk tried to cancel the deal, arguing that Twitter has failed to offer sure info concerning pretend accounts. The corporate sued Musk to require him to finish the deal.

After months of authorized wrangling, the billionaire’s plan to purchase the social media platform got here to fruition, and Musk took management of Twitter on Oct. 28, 2022.

Private Eccentricities

On Sept. 7, 2018, Musk smoked hashish throughout a filmed interview for a podcast.

Only a month earlier, Musk posted an notorious tweet claiming he was contemplating taking Tesla non-public and had secured the wanted funding. Musk subsequently settled a U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) criticism alleging he knowingly misled buyers with the tweet by paying a $20 million high-quality together with the identical penalty for Tesla, and agreeing to let Tesla’s legal professionals approve tweets with materials company info earlier than posting.

In March 2022 Musk filed a court docket movement to overturn the consent decree stemming from that case. In April 2022 throughout a stay TED Speak, Musk referred to as the SEC regulators on the case “bastards.”

Throughout his Could 8, 2021, look on the TV present Saturday Night time Stay, Musk revealed that he has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum dysfunction. “I am truly making historical past tonight as the primary individual with Asperger’s to host SNL. Or at the very least the primary individual to confess it,” he mentioned. How does neurodevelopment situation present itself? “I do not all the time have a variety of intonation or variation in how I communicate, which I am instructed makes for nice comedy,” Musk defined.

Is Elon Musk Married?

Elon Musk has been divorced 3 times—twice from his second spouse, Talulah Riley. From 2018 to 2022, he had been in a relationship with the Canadian singer/songwriter Claire Elise Boucher, professionally generally known as Grimes, with whom he has a son in 2020 and a daughter in 2022. They continue to be greatest mates. He additionally has 5 sons from his first marriage to Justine Musk.

How Wealthy Is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk’s internet value was estimated at $212 billion as of October 2022, making him the wealthiest human on the planet.

Was Elon Musk Born Wealthy?

No, Elon Musk was born right into a middle-class household. In 1995, when based X.com, he reportedly had over $100,000 in pupil debt and struggled to pay hire.

What Does Elon Musk Do at Tesla?

Elon Musk is formally listed because the co-founder and CEO of Tesla on the corporate’s web site. In a 2021 securities submitting, the corporate disclosed an extra Musk title as “Technoking of Tesla.”

What Corporations Does Elon Musk Personal?

Elon Musk is a big stakeholder in a number of firms together with Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Firm, Neuralink, and Twitter.

The Backside Line

Musk’s early pursuits in philosophy, science fiction, and fantasy novels are mirrored in his idealism and concern with human progress—and in his enterprise profession. He works in fields he has recognized as essential to humanity’s future, notably the transition to renewable power sources, house exploration, and the web. Musk has defied critics, disrupted industries, and made probably the most cash anybody ever has from PayPal, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX—game-changers all, regardless of the inevitable missteps. Together with his current takeover of Twitter, Musk guarantees to proceed his position in shaping the technological future.