Born in South Africa in 1971, he became a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold his start-up company, Zip2, to a division of Compaq Computers. He achieved more success by founding X.com in 1999, SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla Motors in 2003. Musk made headlines in May 2012, when SpaceX launched a rocket that would send the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station. He bolstered his portfolio with the purchase of SolarCity in 2016, and cemented his standing as a leader of industry by taking on an advisory role in the early days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
An online city guide, Zip2 was soon providing content for the new websites of both The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and in 1999, a division of Compaq Computer Corporation bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options.
Another Musk venture is Tesla Motors, a company dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars. Five years after its formation, the company in 2008 unveiled the Roadster, a sports car capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, as well traveling nearly 250 miles between charges of its lithum ion battery. 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.
The entrepreneur has also pursued an interest in Artificial Intelligence. He became co-chair of the nonprofit research company OpenAI, which launched in late 2015 with the stated mission of advancing digital intelligence to benefit humanity. Additionally, in 2017 it was revealed that Musk was backing a venture called Neuralink, which intends to create devices to be implanted in the human brain and help people merge with software.
Electronic car maker Tesla Motors is planning raise about $500 million in September by offering 2.1 million additional shares, according to an SEC filing. Founder and CEO has indicated that he will buy about $20 million worth of the stock.
Tesla will use the proceeds, which could amount to as much as $566 million, to spur development of its Model 3, a more affordable sedan aimed to launch in 2017. The money will also help boost development company’s retail operations, charging stations and battery factory.