Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and one of the richest people in the world. According to Forbes, his net worth as of June 28, 2023 is $224.2 billion, making him the first person on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires list. He owns about 23% of Tesla between stock and options, but has pledged more than half his shares as collateral for loans. He also owns about 48% of SpaceX, which is worth $127 billion after a funding round in May 2022.
Musk was born in South Africa in 1971, and moved to Canada when he was 18. He studied physics and economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and then moved to California to pursue a PhD in applied physics at Stanford University. However, he dropped out after two days to start his first company, Zip2, which provided online city guides. He sold Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million in 1999, and used his share of the money to cofound X.com, an online banking company that merged with Confinity, the creator of PayPal. He became the CEO of PayPal, but was ousted in 2000 after a boardroom coup. He still owned 11.7% of PayPal when it was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
Musk then founded SpaceX in 2002, with the goal of making humanity a multiplanetary species. SpaceX has developed several reusable rockets and spacecrafts, such as the Falcon 9, the Dragon, and the Starship. It has also launched numerous satellites and missions for NASA, the US military, and other customers. In 2020, SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station. In 2022, SpaceX launched its first orbital Starship flight with four civilian passengers on board.
Musk joined Tesla in 2004 as an investor and board member, and became its CEO in 2008. Tesla is known for its electric vehicles, such as the Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, and Roadster. It also produces battery packs, solar panels, solar roofs, and powerwalls for homes and businesses. Tesla has faced many challenges and controversies over the years, such as production delays, quality issues, lawsuits, investigations, and Musk’s erratic behavior on social media. However, it has also achieved many milestones and innovations, such as becoming the most valuable car company in the world in 2020.
Musk has also founded or invested in several other companies and projects, such as Neuralink (a brain-computer interface company), The Boring Company (a tunneling and transportation company), OpenAI (a research organization dedicated to creating artificial intelligence that can benefit humanity), Hyperloop (a proposed high-speed transportation system), Starlink (a satellite internet service), SolarCity (a solar energy company that was acquired by Tesla in 2016), and Thud (a comedy media company).
Musk is known for his visionary and ambitious ideas, such as colonizing Mars, creating a global internet network with Starlink satellites, developing a neural lace that can connect human brains to computers, building a city on Mars called Starbase, launching a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa with SpaceX’s Starship, creating a global electric car network with Tesla’s Superchargers, and merging humans with AI through Neuralink.
Musk is also known for his philanthropic activities and donations to various causes, such as education, renewable energy, space exploration, pediatric research, wildlife conservation, COVID-19 relief, and human rights. He has signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals to give away most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetime or in their wills.