Founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX – all extraordinary companies in four completely different industriesâ€” he is an entrepreneur of cult status. Â
He was listed as one ofÂ Time’s 100 people who most affected the world in 2010.
The innovator now envisions a conceptual high-speed transportation system, he calls as theÂ Hyperloop.
Elon Reeve MuskÂ was born on June 28, 1971 inÂ Pretoria, South Africa. His parents divorced when he was nine.
He taught himself computer programmingÂ and at age 12 sold the computer code for a video game called Blastar for $500.
Musk attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School before graduating fromÂ Pretoria Boys High School. Then he moved toÂ CanadaÂ in 1988 at age 17, after obtaining Canadian citizenshipÂ through his mother.
He did so before hisÂ 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 UniversityÂ inÂ Kingston for undergraduate study, and in 1992, after spending two years, he transferred to theÂ University of PennsylvaniaÂ where he eventually received aÂ Bachelor of ScienceÂ degree inÂ Physics.
Musk stayed on a year to finish his second bachelor’s degree inÂ Economics.
In 1995, aged 24, he moved to California to begin aÂ PhDÂ inÂ Applied physicsÂ at Stanford, but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of theÂ Internet,Â renewable energyÂ andÂ outer space.Â
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-foundedÂ 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 forÂ 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.
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.Â
In 2012, Musk joinedÂ â€˜The Giving Pledgeâ€™, offering an ethical commitment to donate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic causes.
Musk is a trustee of theÂ X Prize Foundation, promoting renewable-energy technologies.Â
Musk has been married twice. He married his first wife, Canadian authorÂ 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 actressÂ 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 aÂ McLaren F1Â sports car; however he crashed and ‘wrecked’ the car while it was uninsured.Â He also previously owned a Czech-made jet trainer aircraftÂ Aero L-39.
He ownsÂ Wet Nellie, theÂ Lotus EspritÂ from theÂ James BondÂ filmÂ â€˜The Spy Who Loved Meâ€™.Â