Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, engineer, inventor, and investor. He is the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX; a co-founder, Series A investor, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Motors; chairman of SolarCity; co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com, which merged with Confinity and took the name PayPal. Elon Musk has stated that the goals of SolarCity, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production in solar panels by SolarCity, cutting vehicle emissions by driving electric cars in Tesla Motors, saving human lives with reusable launch vehicles lifting off into space in SpaceX, and making money with commercializing the Internet in X.com (later known as Confinity).
Musk was born on June 28th, 1971. He is an only child of Maye Musk(née Haldeman), who had a modeling career when she was younger, posing for local advertisements when he was ten years old, and Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer. After his parents divorced in 1980, Musk lived mostly with his father in locations in South Africa. Despite having an aptitude for computers, he did not have any formal education on the subject. At age 12, he developed an interest in computing with Commodore VIC-20. He was never able to finish this course as he immigrated to Canada at the age of 17.
At 17 years old, Elon moved to Canada, where his mother had him convinced that it would be much easier to make money there since if you were smart, you could make some money out of it while your peers would need master’s degrees to do so back home. Upon arriving in Canada, Elon and his father slept in a hotel parking lot during their first night.
At age 17, Musk went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed for a second bachelor’s degree in physics. After leaving Penn, Elon enrolled at Stanford University, where he pursued a Ph.D. in applied physics and material science at Stanford but left the program after just two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of the Internet, renewable energy, and outer space.
In 1995, Elon co-founded Zip2 Corporation with his brother Kimbal Musk. The company developed and marketed an Internet “city guide” for the newspaper publishing industry. He obtained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans for a merger with CitySearch. While at Zip2, Elon served as the director of business development
In 1999, Compaq’s AltaVista division acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash and US$34 million in stock options. Elon stayed with the company as CEO but was ousted in March 2000 due to disagreements with the board about his desire to grow the company significantly.
In January 1999, Elon co-founded X.com, online financial services, and e-mail payment company, with $10 million from the sale of Zip2. An X.com acquisition in March 2000 led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today, and in October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for US$1.5 billion in stock. Before the sale, Elon became CEO of PayPal but was removed from that role in October 2000.
Musk co-founded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, in May 2002 with Musk’s $100 million stakes made via selling 30 percent to Google and 70 percent to outside investors. The company developed and launched the first privately funded, liquid-fueled rocket into orbit on September 28th, 2008, the Falcon 1.
On May 15th, 2002, space technology company SpaceX was founded by Musk based on the amount of monetary help he had received from his part-time job as a software developer at Pinnacle Research. Three months later, in August 2002, Musk became the CEO of the company. This development has helped establish the rocket technology company’s place in the market, even setting foundations for its plans to reach Mars. The SpaceX facility is not open to any other companies, and only employees are allowed access to the facility during work hours.
Within a short time frame, SpaceX launched four Falcon 1 rockets into orbit in 2006 and 2007. Following the fourth Falcon 1 launch, Musk claimed it as a “revolutionary” moment in space history.