Elon Musk is the greatest technophile that the world has ever seen. His quest for an innovative world forced people to think out of the box. If it wasn’t for his timely intervention, we would have seen a different world altogether. In fact, he is currently working on civilising a new world! How’s that for a shock?!
However, he didn’t do all of this for anything. He is currently valued at $36.5 Billion. Above all, every single penny of it was earned through his stints in various technologies. Hence to understand his massive empire, it is important to know all of his ventures.
Zip2 is a product of young Elon Musk’s simple idea. Founded in 1995, he and his brother Kimbal developed an internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry. In Zip2, they created maps, directions and yellow pages. The heart of this company was Musk’s Java code. After denying on a potential merger with a competitor, Musk would go on to sell Zip2 for a whopping $307 Million. Ultimately,he received $22 Million for his 7% share. In short, this was his first triumph as a technophile!
Many recognise PayPal as a revolutionary digital payment system. However, PayPal wouldn’t have come this far if it wasn’t for Musk’s X.com. Spending $10 Million off of his Zip2 sale, he started an online financial service and e-mail payment under the name X.com, in 1999. Shortly after a year, he inked a merger with Confinity. At that time, Confinity had an inhouse money transfer service called PayPal. However, it didn’t go well with Musk and his X.com.
In 2000, Musk had to resign from his role of CEO due to disagreements with company executives. He was against the Unix-based infrastructure of PayPal. To clarify, he wanted it to be moved to Microsoft Windows. Despite stepping down from CEO, it was Musk who earned the most after PayPal’s acquisition. He received $165 Million after the company was acquired by eBay in 2002.
SpaceX is arguably the best company that Musk is currently associated with. His ambitious vision for civilising Mars began with a simple mission to minimise rocket prices. After walking out on a pricey deal with a Russian space company, he was determined to build an affordable rocket. As a result, he wasted no time and started calculating the costs. Ultimately, he found that the cost of raw materials required for building a rocket is only 3% of the sales price of a rocket.
In 2002, Musk spent $100 Million to start SpaceX. He is not just the CEO but also the CTO for the company. The company’s first breakthrough came in the year 2008 when their rocket Falcon 1 became the first privately funded vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit. After securing a whopping $1.6 Billion contract, SpaceX closely collaborated with NASA to provide supplies for the International Space Station.
In 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to berth a vehicle to the International Space Station. Apart from these collaborations, Musk worked on his vision to civilise Mars. In order to make this happen, he devised a Reusable Launch Vehicle. In 2015, his RLV rocket was successfully brought back to the launch pad. This is the first time for an orbital rocket to achieve this feat. To sum up, SpaceX is currently valued at $20 Billion.
Even though Tesla was incorporated in 2003, it wasn’t until 2004 when Musk entered the company as a board of director. He was ridiculed by many people for leading the round of investments for an Electric Vehicle manufacturer. However, Musk had a definitive approach to Tesla. On an interview in the year 2006, he detailed his plan for Tesla, saying:
“Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options”
Following the financial crisis, in 2008 Musk assumed leadership of the company and became the CEO. In addition to that, he also took a role as the product architect for Tesla. It was his forward-thinking that put Tesla into the map. Under his leadership, Tesla unveiled 5 models, out of which they retired one model. Going into 2020, the company has 3 concepts yet to be unveiled. In conclusion, Tesla’s net worth is between $93 Billion and $100 Billion.
SolarCity is a project aimed to promote a renewable source of energy. In 2006, Musk co-founded this company along with his cousins. Within 7 years, SolarCity became the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States. Similar to what he did for Tesla, Musk had big plans for SolarCity. In 2012, he announced that Tesla would be working closely with SolarCity for building energy storage services. Subsequently, Tesla acquired the company in 2016 for a deal worth $3 Billion. Since then, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesla.
Hyperloop promises hassle-free high-speed transportation. Founded in 2013, the key idea for this company was put forth by Musk. He devised a system that is capable of having minimum air resistance. In order to achieve this, he needed low-pressure tubes or tunnels for accelerating the vehicles. Without wasting much time, he assigned lead engineers from Tesla and SpaceX to work on this project. Subsequently, he successfully released a preliminary design that had a budget of around $6 Billion. As as a result, this design would facilitate a transportation system built between Los Angeles and San Francisco. As of 2017, the company’s value stood at a whopping $700 Million.
Open AI is a non-profit organisation intended to develop artificial intelligence in a way that benefits humanity. The company was found in 2015 by Musk and 5 others. Although he had high hopes for this company, he decided to leave the board in order to avoid conflicts with his role as CEO of Tesla.
Neuralink is Musk’s second engagement with Artificial intelligence. Brought to light in 2016, the company had the vision to integrate the human brain with artificial intelligence. Consequently, this integration would allow humans to directly interface with computers. According to Musk, Neuralink and Open A.I go hand in hand. While Open A.I works on developing safe artificial intelligence, Neuralink is avidly working on ways to implant technology into the human brain. To sum up, the current value of Neuralink is $100 Million.
The Boring company
The idea for The Boring Company came in 2016 when he was stuck in traffic. Frustrated, he posted a tweet saying “[I] am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging …”. In 2017, he began working on this and started digging a tunnel near SpaceX’s LA office. However, the proposed model is only compatible with electric vehicles. In 2018, one of his tunnels was opened to the public. The mile-long test tunnel proved that his concept is indeed foolproof. TBC is currently working on a machine that is capable of cutting costs of the boring operation. As of 2019, the company is valued at around $500 Million to $1 Billion.