Musk of Vision

Founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX – all extraordinary companies in four completely different industries— he is an entrepreneur of cult status.  

He was listed as one of Time’s 100 people who most affected the world in 2010.

The innovator now envisions a conceptual high-speed transportation system, he calls as the Hyperloop.

Childhood

Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. His parents divorced when he was nine.

He taught himself computer programming and at age 12 sold the computer code for a video game called Blastar for $500.

Education

Musk attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School before graduating from Pretoria Boys High School. Then he moved to Canada in 1988 at age 17, after obtaining Canadian citizenship through his mother.

He did so before his South African military service, reasoning it would be easier to immigrate to the United States from Canada than from South Africa.

At age 19, Musk entered Queen’s University in Kingston for undergraduate study, and in 1992, after spending two years, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he eventually received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics.

Musk stayed on a year to finish his second bachelor’s degree in Economics.

In 1995, aged 24, he moved to California to begin a PhD in Applied physics at Stanford, but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of the Internet, renewable energy and outer space. 

Business ventures

Musk launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation in 1995. An online city guide, Zip2 was soon providing content for the new Web sites of both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and in 1999, a division of Compaq Computer bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options.

The same year, Musk co-founded X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company

An X.com acquisition the following year led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today, and in October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Before the sale, Musk owned 11% of PayPal stock.

Musk then went on to forming his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel.

By 2008, SpaceX was well-established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station.

Another Musk venture is Tesla Motors, an automobile company dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars, which he co-founded in 2003.

With a stake in the company taken by Daimler and a strategic partnership with Toyota, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering in June 2010, raising $226 million.

Musk provided the initial concept for SolarCity, which was then co-founded in 2006 by his cousins. The company is now the second largest provider of solar power systems in the US.

In 2013, Musk released a concept for a new form of transportation called the “Hyperloop.” The new invention is intended travel at speeds greater than 700 miles per hour to commute between major cities while severely cutting the time of travel.

Philanthropy

Musk is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic efforts on science education, paediatric health, and clean energy.

In 2010, the foundation created a program focused on donating solar-power systems for critical needs in disaster areas. 

In 2012, Musk joined ‘The Giving Pledge’, offering an ethical commitment to donate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic causes.

Musk is a trustee of the X Prize Foundation, promoting renewable-energy technologies. 

Personal Life

Musk has been married twice. He married his first wife, Canadian author Justine Musk in 2000. The couple separated eight years later after having six sons.

He announced in 2012, he had recently ended a four-year relationship with his second wife, British actress Talulah Riley.

A year later, he remarried his second wife. However, in December 2014 he filed for a second divorce from her.

Musk previously owned a McLaren F1 sports car; however he crashed and ‘wrecked’ the car while it was uninsured. He also previously owned a Czech-made jet trainer aircraft Aero L-39.

He owns Wet Nellie, the Lotus Esprit from the James Bond film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. 

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