The mind behind Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX is the entrepreneur Elon Musk. A man with many plans. He is also the founder of PayPal and Zip2. Widely considered a co-founder of each. He has also envisioned a conceptual high-speed transportation system known as the hyperloop.
Elon Musk met his first wife Justine Musk at Ontario`s Queen`s University. They married in 2000 and separated eight years later. They have six sons, the eldest of whom, died of SIDS when he was 10 weeks old.
In 2012, he ended a four-year relationship with his second wife, British actress Talulah Riley, but in a 60 Minutes interview on March 30,2014 he said he is still happy together with Talulah. In February 11, 2014, Musk was invited to attend a state dinner at the White House.
Most of you probably know the story of Steve Jobs (Apple Inc), but Elon Musk is often compared to Steve Jobs and Henry Ford. It can`t be better than that. I personally like people who is thinking big. Really BIG! Thinking they want to go to the moon or into the space. Just like John F. Kennedy.
First of all, Elon Musk is an investor. He earned his big money during the financial crises in 1998. This is how succesful investors are doing it. Earning money no matter where the market goes. The most important thing is to be on the right side of the market!
Elon Musk was born in Pretoria in South Africa, in 1971, to a Canadian mother and a South African-born British father. He taught himself computer programming and sold the computer code for a video game called Blaster for $500 when he was 12 years old.
In 1992, Elon Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he received a bachelor`s degree in economics from the Wharton School. He stayed on a year to finish his second bachelor`s degree in physics.
Then he moved to California to pursue a PhD in applied physics at Standford but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations in the areas of the internet, renewable energy and outer space. He became an American citizen in 2002.
Musk did not start his business career at Tesla. His fist company was Zip2 which is a web software company. Zip2 developed and marketed an internet «city guide» for the newspaper publishing industry.
Compaq acquired Zip2 for US$307 million in cash and US$34 million is stock options in 1999. Musk received 7% or $22 million from the sale, and co-founder of Zip2 was his brother, Kimbal. Now, Mush had money to start a new project.
He co-founded X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company. One year later, the company merged with Confinity, which operated a subsidiary called PayPal. The original intent was to merge the two systems, but it never happened.
Musk favored the PayPal brand over the X.com brand, and PayPal`s early growth was due in large part to a successful viral growth campaign created by Musk. PayPal was acquired by eBay for $US 1,5 billion in stock, in October 2002.
PayPal`s largest shareholder was Elon Musk and he owned 11,7% of PayPal`s shares. He pocketed $165 million from the sale, which was good for the next project. His third company was SpaceX. Musk co-founded it with rocket propulsion engineer Tom Mueller in June 2002.
SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology. The company`s fist two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, and its first spacecraft is the Dragon.
The company was awarded a $1,6 billion NASA contract on December 23, 2008. They designed Falcon 9/Dragon with astronaut transport in mind and the Augustine commission recommended that astronaut transport be handled by commercial companies like SpaceX.
Musk revealed that he was influenced by Isaac Asimov`s Foundation series and views space exploration as an important step in expanding the consciousnes of human life. But why is Elon Musk so interested in the space?
He had said that multiplanetary life may serve as a hedge against threats to the survival of the human species. «An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: an engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micre black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet unknown technology could spell the end of us.
He founded SpaceX with $100 million of his early fortune, and he wants to reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 10. In an interview, he said he hopes to send humans to Mars surface within 10 – 20 years.
Tesla Motors was co-founded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel, Ian Wright and Elon Musk, who became involved with the company in 2004, as a Series A investor. They started with the electric car called the Tesla Roadster, with sales of about 2,500 vehicles to 31 countries.
They began delivery of its four-door Model S sedan on 22 June 2012. Model X is scheduled to begin production in early 2015. I think many are waiting for that SUV to be released on the minivan market.
In addition to its own cars, Tesla sells electric powertrain systems to Daimler for Smart EV and Mercedes A Class and to Toyota for the RAV4EV. Musk was able to bring in both companies as long-term investors in Tesla.
Musk provided the initial concept for SolarCity, which was then co-founded by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. Musk remains the largest shareholder and SolarCity is now the largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. The underlying motivation for funding both SolarCity and Tesla is to help combat global warming.
Like many other investors, Musk started his own foundation called Musk Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic efforts on science education, pediatric health and clean energy. He is trusted of the X Prize Foundation, promoting renewable-energy technologies.
In 2011, he visited Soma City in Fukushima, Japan, which had been devastated by tsunami, and he donated a solar power project valued at $250,000 to this city. He also donated a solar-power system for critical needs to a hurricane response center in Alabama that had been neglected by state and federal aid. SolarCity is not involved in this state.
Elon Musk joined The Giving Pledge in April 2012, offering an ethical commitment to donate the majority of his fortune to philanthropic causes. Musk became a member of the campaign first popularised by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates with class of 12 of America`s wealthiest families and individuals. What a great story!
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