Elon Musk rose to fame in a short span of time. When he was in his latetwenties he was already a multi-millionaire after selling his start-up company,Zip2, to a special division run by Compaq Computers. In a 2000 merger, hewent on to launch PayPal. This was followed by SpaceX or Space ExplorationTechnologies Corp. in 2002. In 2003, he launched Tesla Motors and went onto become a household name. Still quite young, the future is bright for thisentrepreneur and one of the greatest business minds of the 21st century.
7 Childhood and Early Years
Musk was born in South Africa on the 28th of June, 1971. He bought his firstcomputer when he was just 10 years old. Interestingly, he did not need any help to learncomputer programming. He taught himself and made his first software salewhen he was 12. This was a game called Blaster, which Musk programmed,designed and developed on his own.
Musk's father was an engineer and his mother worked as a nutritionist. She wasa Canadian. Since childhood, he was always fascinated by computers andscience fiction. Programming and selling a video game on his own when hewas just 12 was the first step in what was to come.
When Musk was in his late teens, he was required to join the military servicewhich was mandatory for white males living in South Africa. However, hewas not interested and immigrated to Canada. As his mother was Canadian, herties helped him to enroll in one of Ontario's best schools, Queen's Universityin Kingston.
By this time, Musk had already decided on a career in business. As a result, hestarted working at a Canadian Bank in the summer. During this period, he wassimply a college intern. Before becoming an entrepreneur this was his only realjob. When Musk was in the middle of his undergraduate education, he movedto the University of Pennsylvania. He was able to earn a bachelor's degree in Economics. Just one year later, he earned his second bachelor's degree in Physics.
Due to his academic excellence, Musk was granted admission in the doctoralprogram at Stanford University. In California, he concentrated on his Ph.D inEnergy Physics. He had moved to California in 1995. This was the periodwhen the Internet had just become popular. Without giving it a second thought,Musk wanted to be a part of it. It took just two days for him to drop out ofStanford and launch his first company, Zip2.
6 Zip2 Corporation
In 1995, Musk was 24 years old. He had already dropped out of StanfordUniversity to launch his first company after only attending two days ofclasses. Needless to say, he was terrified and nervous. At the same time, he wasconfident and determined. The Zip2 Corporation was a basic online city guide. Itprovided all kinds of content for the web versions of the Chicago Tribune and the NewYork Times. In the beginning, Elon Musk faced many challenges andexperienced many financial hurdles. Eventually, he had to sell major control ofhis company to venture capitalists for $3.6 million.
It did not take long for the Zip2 Corporation to become a market leader. Soon, itwas providing complete content for new web versions of the Chicago Tribune and theNew York Times. Finally, Musk hit the jackpot when he sold the Zip2 Corporationto a division of Compaq computers in 1999. The deal was finalized for $34million in stock options and $307 million in cash.
Musk's share out of this money was $22 million. At such a young age, he hadalready become a millionaire but obviously, he was looking for more. Muskstarted his new company in the same year.
With $10 million, Elon started his next company in 1999. X.com was one of the first online banks. He invented and developed a way of securely transferring money by using a person or recipient's email address.
X.com was a huge hit and able to buy a company called Confinity. Thiscompany had already started a process for transferring money on the internet. Itwas called PayPal. Soon, he decided to drop the idea of online banking andfocused on becoming the first global payment transfer provider. PayPal wassold to eBay in 2002. Musk was able to make $165 million in eBay stock and$1.5 billion in cash from this deal.
Elon Musk launched Space Exploration Technologies Corp or SpaceX in 2002.Musk has been a long-running member of the Mars Society. It is a non-profitorganization which has always supported the exploration of Mars. In fact, Musk hasalways been interested in setting up a greenhouse on Mars.
In order to turn his dream into reality, SpaceX has been focused on developingrocket technology. The company and Musk made history on the 22nd of May, 2012,when the first rocket, Falcon 9, was launched by SpaceX into space. It had anunmanned capsule.
The rocket had about 1000 pounds of supplies for astronauts who were alreadystationed there. In fact, this was the first time a private company hadtaken an initiative and sent a rocket to the International Space Station on Mars.
2 Tesla Motors
Musk co-founded Tesla Motors in 2004 and was the product architect ofthe company. This company focuses on building electric vehicles. It hasalready built an electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. This vehicle also comes in a variant for the economy class. A four door electric sedan has also been launched in the market. In the future, Tesla Motors is planning to build many more electric cars.
Musk also co-founded SolarCity in 2006. He co-founded this company with hiscousin, Lyndon Rive. This company deals in photovoltaics products andservices. In the past couple of years, the company has shown great progress andgrowth.
By the time Elon Musk reached 28, he was already a multi-millionaire with all thecredit going to PayPal. It became an instant hit for global money transferthrough the internet. SpaceX also played an important role in Musk's success.Recently, he was named as one of the 'thrillionaires' by the New York Times.
Thrillionaires are a group of high-tech visionaries and entrepreneurs who havefound ways to turn their wealth into something that transforms science fictiondreams into reality. There is no doubt that Musk has been one of the greatestbusiness minds in the 21st century. It will be interesting to see if he stays onthe same track for years to come.