Founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk is a South African entrepreneur who made several millions before he turned 30. He has launched and sold highly successful companies, made newspaper headlines in space travel, and cemented his role as industry leader by becoming an advisor to President Trump.
Born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1971, Elon Reeve Musk was an introverted child with a passion for computers who soon taught himself to do programming. Aged 12 he sold his first piece of software – a game he designed, programmed and named Blastar. Aged 17 he moved to Canada where he started studying at Queen’s University. Elon also studied at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated with degrees in economics and physics, and started studying towards his Ph.D in energy physics at Stanford University in California. But when the Internet boom happened, he dropped out and launched Zip2 Corporation, which was sold in 1999 for a whopping US$341 million in cash and stock options. He then co-founded the online financial service company X.com, which was sold to eBay for US$1.5 billion in stock.
Never one to sit back and rest, Elon Musk continued developing his business interests and launched SpaceX, a company he created with the aim of building spacecraft for commercial travel purposes. Musk and SpaceX made history on 22 May 2012 when they launched an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket into space and delivered 1,000 pounds of supplies to astronauts stationed at the International Space Station – the first time in history this was achieved by a private company.
Making Space-age Ideas Reality
Besides space travel Elon is also interested in other forms of futuristic transport. He founded Tesla Motors, a company that produces electric cars. The company’s first public offering was launched in June 2010 and raised US$226 million. Elon’s other ultra-high-tech interests include Artificial Intelligence, neural implants that aim to merge people with software, and travel pods that propel riders through a network of tubes from city to city. According to Elon his goals include accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy and creating a more inspiring future for all.