Facts about Elon Musk
Elon Musk Biography
Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world and the man behind Tesla and SpaceX — companies building cars and rockets.
Born to a well-to-do family in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk emigrated to Canada when he was 17 to study at Queens University. Musk moved to the U.S. in 1992 and earned a degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, then headed to Stanford in California in 1995 to study for his graduate degree.
Instead of more school, Musk jumped into the emerging tech industry with his brother and formed a company, then sold it and joined the wheeler-dealers of Silicon Valley. Musk then ended up transforming the company that became PayPal and made millions in 2002; then he invested in Tesla Motors, an electric car company, in 2003.
At the same time, Musk started building rockets (after failing to buy Russian ones) with SpaceX. He announced to the world his intention to colonize Mars. By 2015, SpaceX was a successful business, thanks to government contracts and technological advancements (including re-usable rockets). Tesla was likewise successful, Musk having taken control of the company after eight years as an investor and board member.
By 2020, Musk’s SpaceX had sent 180 satellites into orbit, and Musk announced he wanted 30,000 more (he already has permission for 12,000 more). Elon Musk had also jumped into the bioscience business, forming Neuralink in 2016 to develop “brain-machine interfaces” — brain implants meant to communicate with “artificial intelligence” (their words).
He’s also in the mass transit business — sort of — with claims that he’s working to develop a “hyperloop” system of moving people at hypersonic speeds through underground tunnels. He founded The Boring Company to create the tunnels that would become the hyperloops.
With Tesla’s stock soaring in 2021, Musk was named the world’s richest man, with an estimated worth of around $300 billion. He used some of those riches to buy the social media company Twitter in 2022, after some upheaval: He made a bid of $54.20 for the company early in 2022, then tried to back out of the deal when the stock market went down, only to be forced to go through with the sale at the end of the year.
A constant presence in all media, Musk is a walking advertisement for his companies, whose fortunes rise and fall with his public comments. This has led a number of lawsuits, controversies and government inquiries. Still, Time magazine named Musk its “Person of the Year” for 2021.