Musk was an early investor in several tech companies while achieving global fame as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of electric automobile maker Tesla and the private space company SpaceX. In October 2022, he completed a deal to take Twitter Inc. private. To know more about his style and success, his inspiring history and the place where Elon Musk was born? Keep on reading.
Elon Musk’s life story started in South Africa, as he was born there. Then he paved on to become an American entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal and established SpaceX, a launch vehicle and spacecraft manufacturer.
He was also one of the primary investors and the CEO of Tesla, an electric car company. Musk was born in 1971 to Maye Musk, a model and nutritionist and Errol Musk, an electromechanical engineer. However, he is the eldest of his parents’ three children and a citizen of three countries South Africa, the United States and Canada.
Where did Elon Musk grow up?
Musk was born in Canada to a Canadian mother and a South African father, who he described as “a dreadful human being”. He grew up with an intense love for books and computers. As a result of his devotion towards computers, Musk developed a video game at the age of 12 and sold it to a computer magazine.
He left South Africa in 1988 and got a Canadian passport as he refused to get into compulsory military duty; instead, he wanted to pursue the higher economic prospects offered in the United States.
Some surprising facts about Elon Musk’s youth
- While living in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk, his brother Kimbal and other cousins travelled around the wealthy parts of the South African capital to sell homemade chocolate Easter eggs. The adventurous group travelled door-to-door, selling the sweets for 20 times the cost of making.
- Musk had a difficult childhood during his grade school in Pretoria and was pretty open about it. He was the youngest and smallest kid in the class, but he was nerdier and much more into books. The bullying continued until he was 15 years old, then by the time he learnt to defend himself by doing karate, judo and wrestling.
- He was such an introvert as a kid that his parents and doctors went for tests on whether he was deaf or what. Eventually, his mother learnt about his daydreaming habit of inventions. This habit bothered his peers, and they started yelling at him while he might be visualising projects.
- When their parents were away, he was kept under the supervision of a housekeeper who ensured he did not break anything. He was off making explosives, building rockets, reading books, and doing dangerous stuff.
- Books played a vital role in fueling Musk’s ambitions and entertainment, even though he says, “Books raised me.” He read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at the age of nine and read everything for up to 10 hours a day, including science fiction novels, comics and nonfiction books.
- In the initial days of computer coding, Musk, at 12 years of age, built a science-fiction-inspired game. The objective of this game was to destroy an alien spacecraft carrying deadly bombs, and he got $500 for it.
- Musk loved playing the fancy role-playing game, and the teens went to Johannesburg for a Dungeons and Dragons tournament. Musk helped his team to win the tournament with his incredible imagination and ability to keep people captivated and inspired.
- Along with his younger cousin and brother Kimbal, Musk planned to open an arcade by their high school at the age of 16. They got far in signing leases, setting contracts together and filling out forms at the city planning department. But their plan failed as the city told them they were too young to get a real estate permit without an adult to sign off.
- In his teens, Musk moved from his native South Africa to begin his college studies in North America. After emigrating, he found that “in America, it is pretty easy to keep yourself alive.”
When was Elon Musk born? His early life and education
Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, one of South Africa’s capital cities. The oldest of three children, his father was a South African engineer, while the mother was a Canadian model and nutritionist.
His parents divorced in 1980, and Musk lived primarily with his father, but he was so annoyed with his father as he said almost every evil thing you could think of he had done. He stated, “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 attended the private, English-speaking Waterkloof House Preparatory School and later graduated from Pretoria Boys High School. A self-described bookworm, he made few friends in those places.
Such bullies made growing up difficult as they were going after him nonstop. He was chased around by gangs at school who tried to beat him out, and it was indeed awful.
At age 10, he became acquainted with programming using a relatively inexpensive home computer. Must have become proficient enough to create a video game in the Space Invaders style and sold the BASIC code for the game.
Elon Musk nationality
At 17, Elon Musk moved to Canada and obtained citizenship through his mother. After that, he enrolled at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. There he met an aspiring writer, Justin Wilson; they married later and had five sons together. They had twins and triplets, but they divorced in 2008.
Elon Musk spouse
Justine Wilson was the first wife of Elon Musk, whom he married in 2000. Their first child died due to sudden death syndrome, and the couple decided to use IVF to continue their family. The couple welcomed twins in 2004 and then triplets in 2006. They were divorced in 2008 and shared custody of the children.
After two years of dating, Musk married an English actress in 2010 and divorced in 2012. After a year, they remarried, but their romance ended when the divorce was finalised in 2016.
Elon Musk has been divorced three times, twice from Talulah Riley, his second wife. From 2018 to 2022, he remained in a relationship with Canadian singer/songwriter Grimes, with whom he had a son in 2020 and a daughter in 2022. Moreover, he has five sons from his first wife, Justine Musk.
He spent two years at Queen’s University and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. Musk bought a 10-bedroom fraternity house with his class fellow and used it as an ad hoc nightclub.
Musk graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physics and then a bachelor of arts in economics from the Wharton School. Physics left the deepest impression on him, and no doubt his two majors helped him build his career. He said later, “Physics is a good framework for thinking. Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”
He went to Stanford University in California to earn a PhD in Energy Physics after leaving Pennsylvania. But he could not make it as he walked out of Stanford after only two days to start his first firm.
Where did Elon Musk get his money from?
At 24, Elon Musk moved to California to pursue a PhD in applied Physics at Stanford University. But Musk had entrepreneurial visions, so he left the program just after two days for the internet exploding and Silicon Valley booming.
In 1995, Musk, with $15,000 and his younger brother Kimbal started Zip2, a web software company to help newspapers develop online city guides. At the same time, Compaq Computer Corp. acquired Zip2 for $341 million.
The vigilant Musk used Zip2 to sell money to create X.com, a fintech venture. Later, X.com merged with a money transfer firm called Confinity, resulting in a company known as PayPal.
PayPal is set up to let users of handheld personal digital assistants transfer money or PDAs. Musk imagined that its online-transfer technology, known as person-to-person “P2P”, with a promising future.
But Musk and Haris disagreed, and Harris resigned from X.com in 2000. After a few months, Musk announced that X.com would abandon its original online bank and focus on turning into the leading global payment transfer provider. After that, PayPal enormously grew through 2001, with its high presence on eBay, the online auction Web site for person-to-person sales for hundreds of thousands.
By February 2002, PayPal became a publicly traded company with an initial public offering of stock (IPO), and it had an impressive debut on the first day of Wall Street trading. Later eBay bought the company outright for $1.5 billion, but Musk was PayPal’s largest shareholder while holding an 11.5% stake. Elon Musk also got $165 million in valuable eBay stock from this deal.
By 2004, Musk got into an electric car venture as an early investor and contributed around $6.3 million to join the team to run the company later known as Tesla motors. That initial team included engineer Martin Eberhard, who was ousted in 2007 following a series of disagreements. They hired an interim CEO until Musk took over as the CEO and product architect.
After Elon Musk assumed Tesla’s control, it became the world’s most valuable automaker. While producing electric vehicles, Tesla maintained a robust presence in the solar energy space while acquiring SolarCity.
Currently, the company produces two rechargeable solar batteries: the smaller Powerwall for home backup power and off-the-grid use, whereas the larger Powerpack is for commercial or electric utility grid use. Musk played a key role in the developing world’s first electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster.
Musk started a new venture in June 2002 named SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies. This venture was fascinated by the possibility of life on Mars and was a member of Mars Society, a nonprofit organisation that encourages the exploration of the red planet. He put his fortune into this new rocket company that aimed to make a cost-effective alternative to NASA.
According to Musk, he spent almost $100 million to found SpaceX in 2002. Under his proficient leadership, SpaceX landed high-profile contracts with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Air Force to design space launch rockets.
Musk wanted to create a “Mars Oasis”, sending an experimental greenhouse to the planet that is the favourable alignment of the planets around 35 million miles from the Earth. His Oasis would contain a nutrient gel from which Mars-environment-friendly plant life could grow.
He also learned that sending something with a standard delivery method will not cost you $20 million. Instead, a Delta rocket made by the Boeing Corporation would add another $50 million to the cost. Musk even tried to buy a rocket from Russia, but he realised that the deal could suspect international traders who were underground or illegal. Musk has plans to send astronauts to Mars by 2025 in a collaborative effort with NASA.
Musk disclosed a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter in April 2022, and Twitter offered Musk a seat on the board that he refused at first but accepted later. Musk sent a bear hug letter to Twitter’s board, proposing to buy the company for $54.20 per share.
Twitter’s board discouraged Musk from accumulating a larger stake, but they ultimately accepted Musk’s offer after his commitment to disclose $46.5 billion for financing the deal in a securities filing.
In July 2022, Musk attempted to cancel the deal, saying that Twitter failed to provide certain information regarding fake accounts. But the company sued Elon Musk to complete the deal. After getting into a legal fight for months, Musk planned to buy the social media platform, and the billionaires took control of Twitter on Oct. 28, 2022.
Elon Musk’s association with rocketry
Musk wanted to build his rocket, so he contacted innovators and technicians in the American aerospace industry. Somehow he managed to deal with a few experienced engineers and technical specialists from companies like Boeing and TRW to work for him at SpaceX’s headquarters in El Segundo, California.
He needed help attracting venture capital for rocket making; instead, he was forced to spend his money to build the first reusable rocket in the private sector. Musk and his SpaceX team started building two types of Falcon rockets. He chose the name “Millenium Falcon” for the rocket, the name of the spacecraft in the Star War movies.
They planned to build a rocket using existing technology at the lowest possible cost. For instance, Falcon 1 uses a pintle engine from the 1960s with one fuel injector. On the other hand, the standard rockets by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) use showerhead engine designs with several fuel injectors.
That company needed a theodolite that they use to align rockets, and rather than buying a new one they found one on eBay and saved $25,000. Rocketry comes with equally expensive costs, but he is still working on the rocket’s reusable design.
The company is working on getting back on the rocket’s first stage; when it sheds as it leaves the Earth’s atmosphere, the part usually falls into the ocean, but retrieval at sea is expensive.
Success Story of Elon Musk
In 2004, Musk joined engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning at Tesla motors, where he played a key role in the company’s development. Musk took over the company as a CEO and product architect, and under his supervision, Tesla has grown to become the most popular and desirable vehicle brand in the world.
SpaceX has signed many high-profile contracts with NASA and the U.S. Air Force for manufacturing rockets and executing military missions. Elon Musk has always desired to collaborate with NASA to deploy an astronaut to Mars by 2025.
The billionaire was always into various space-age technologies, but it was always a difficult journey. He hung in with his expertise, became a small business owner and eventually became CEO of two most well-known and creative firms. The key to his success could be that he always settled for more and kept on ascending.
His greatest achievement is Tesla creating electric automobiles, which also has a strong presence in the solar energy sector due to SolarCity. Here we should learn about SolarCity, a clean-energy services company founded in 2006. But after the purchase of SolarCity, they developed two rechargeable solar batteries.
What is Elon Musk’s net worth?
Bloomberg and Forbes ranked Elon Musk, the world’s richest man with a net worth of about $250 billion. But according to recent data, Elon Musk is knocked off that title by Bernard Arnault, chief executive of French luxury goods group LVMH, who is the owner of brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
Still, Musk obtained a fortune of around $178 billion, based largely on the value of his shares in Tesla, where he owns more than 13%. The company’s stocks soared unreasonably in 2020 due to increased output, and has started to deliver regular profits. But now, the shares have more than halved this year; the blame is the Twitter takeover distraction.
Elon Musk has championed digital currencies and hanging on several other smaller companies. These companies include tunnel-maker the Boring company and experimental brain-computer startup Neuralink.
The workaholic Musk often says he is not in business to make money; he recently repeated this claim on the Twitter takeover. His friend stated about Musk, “Elon only gets involved with things if he feels that they’re critically important for some reason, for the sake of society or humanity.”
What companies does Elon Musk own?
Elon Musk is a larger stakeholder in several companies, mainly Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, along with The Boring Co. and Neuralink.
Some important facts about Elon Musk
- Elon Musk was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa.
- He is famous for co-founding Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but PayPal made him get his fortune top of all.
- Musk’s annual pay for Tesla motors is $1, equal to Steve Jobs and other famous entrepreneurs.
- Elon Musk learnt computer programming at the age of 12 and produced the video game Blastar and sold it for $500.
- The fictional character of Iron Man (Tony Stark) was hugely influenced by Musk and even shot inside and outside of SpaceX. Even made sure of Elon Musk’s appearances in the film.
- He immigrated to Canada from South Africa when he was 17 years old and went to the University of Pennsylvania in the United States for college.
- Afterwards, Musk moved to California after graduation to pursue a Physics graduate at Stanford University. After two days, he dropped out of Stanford and plunged into the booming internet industry.
- He founded his first startup, Zip2, to supply online newspapers with maps and business directories; later, he sold the company for $307 million.
- After selling Zip2, Musk co-founded X.com in 1999, which became PayPal; later, it became an online payment startup. Then eBay purchased it for $1.5 billion in equity, and Musk received $165 million.
- Tesla, a well-known firm that designs and manufactures electric sports automobiles, is presently Tesla’s CEO and chief product architect.
- The National Highway Safety Administration gave the Tesla Model S a 5.4 / 5 safety rating. It was the highest rating ever given to a car, which is indeed the biggest achievement for Musk.
- Musk is the biggest driver behind SolarCity, and he is even the company’s main shareholder.
- He created SpaceX, a corporation that designs and manufactures space launch vehicles while focusing on rocket technology. His goal is to lower the cost of space travel, which will help expand human life beyond the Earth.
- Musk struggled to raise funds for SpaceX and put all of his funds into making his dreams a reality which is against every business advice.
Everyone wants to know about the most progressive man in the world, his early life and education, his notable accomplishments, and even where Elon Musk was born. The billionaire’s early interests in science fiction and fantasy novels are reflected in his concern with human progress and his business career.
After he founded or led, companies focused on addressing three existential risks to humanity’s long-term survival: climate risk, single planet dependency risk, and human species obsolescence risk. Musk risked his entire fortune to build two companies, SpaceX and Tesla Motors.
He works in various fields crucial for humanity’s future, the transition to renewable energy sources, space exploration and the internet. Suppose you want to know where Elon Musk got his money from. In that case, there is a simple answer: he has made the most money from PayPal, Tesla motors, SolarCity, SpaceX etc. and his recent takeover of Twitter for shaping the technological future.