Elon Musk, a South African-born American entrepreneur who cofounded the electronic-payment firm PayPal and formed SpaceX, maker of launch vehicles and spacecraft. He is also the chief executive officer of the electric car manufacturer Tesla.
He displayed an early talent for computers and entrepreneurship. At age 12 he created a video game and sold it to a computer magazine. In 1988, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left South Africa.
In 1995 he founded Zip2, a company that provided maps and business directories to online newspapers. In 1999 Zip2 was bought by the computer manufacturer Compaq for $307 million, and Musk then founded an online financial services company, X.com, which later became PayPal, which specialized in transferring money online. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion.
The same year, he founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to make more affordable rockets. Its first two rockets were the Falcon 1 and the larger Falcon 9, which were designed to cost much less than competing rockets. A third rocket, the Falcon Heavy, was designed to carry 53,000 kg to orbit. SpaceX announced the Super Heavy–Starship system as the successor to the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy. Starship is a spacecraft designed for providing fast transportation between cities on Earth and building bases on the Moon and Mars. SpaceX also developed the Dragon spacecraft, which carries supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). These crafts ultimately replaced the US Space Shuttle after NASA officially retired it in 2011.
Musk co-founded Tesla in 2003. Tesla’s mission has been to economically produce highly-efficient battery-powered electric cars, with fast pick-up capabilities, and long-lasting batteries. The first Tesla product, the Roadster sports car, debuted in 2008, followed by the Model S sedan, and the Model X SUV. Model S received Consumer Reports’ Best Overall Car and has been named the Ultimate Car of the Year by Motor Trend. Tesla has succeeded in its mission to make electric cars more affordable, with its cheapest offering–the Model 3, boasting a $35,000 price tag.
As the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon leads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of the company’s electric vehicles, battery products and solar energy products.
Elon is also the CEO of Neuralink, which is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.
He also launched The Boring Company, which combines fast, affordable tunneling technology with an all-electric public transportation system in order to reduce urban congestion and enable high-speed, long-distance travel. The Boring Company built a 1.15 mile R&D tunnel in Hawthorne, and is currently constructing Vegas Loop, a public transportation system at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial endeavors are varied and forward-thinking. Whether it’s digital payment technology, space travel, or electric cars Musk’s innovations have a profound impact on our daily lives.