Capital: € 13 billion
Age: 48
Born: June 28, 1971
Country of origin: South Africa
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2022

Short introduction

Elon Reeve Musk is a Canadian-American entrepreneur and investor. Through his participation in some of the most well-known innovative companies of the past decades, he gained worldwide renown beyond entrepreneurship and is part of the pop culture of the 21st century. In the following, this article takes a closer look at the visionary.

Early life

Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, where he also spent his childhood and youth. Together with his two younger siblings, he mostly lived with the father after the separation of the parents. After graduating from high school, he applied for Canadian passports with his brother and emigrated to North America at the age of 16. On the one hand, he wanted to avoid doing military service in South Africa, which was characterized by apartheid, and on the other hand, he was able to study at a university there. After completing his bachelor’s degree in economics and physics from the University of Pennsylvania, he was admitted to a Ph.D. program at the renowned Stanford University in California. But he broke it off after only two days with the intention of starting an internet company.


At an early age, Elon Musk showed an interest in technology. He was already involved in programming languages when he was ten years old, and when he was twelve he sold the first self-developed video game (“blaster”) for $ 500 to a computer magazine.

Elon Musk founded his first own company in 1995. The company Zip2 offered content for media companies and was founded by the entrepreneur and his brother according to his own account with only 2000 US dollars in capital. Just four years later, the computer manufacturer Compaq bought Zip2 for $ 307 million. This was the highest takeover of an internet company to date and the income enabled Musk to implement further business ideas. In 1999 he founded, an online payment system, which in the following year became the most important system of this type: PayPal. When the company was sold to eBay for $ 1.5 billion in 2002, Musk, the largest shareholder, held 11.5% of the company.

Further company foundations in the following years no longer focused primarily on the new development of previously non-existent products, but rather on the possibility of making products that were previously very expensive due to their complexity, for example, suitable for the masses and cheaper.

The first foundations aimed in this direction were SpaceX and Tesla. The space company SpaceX, led by Musk, has managed to become the world’s leading commercial provider of rocket launches since 2002. Due to the reusability of individual rocket elements, SpaceX has also managed to minimize the costs per space flight. The Tesla company, where Musk has been operating since 2004, is one of the world’s most innovative in the field of electromobility and has set itself the goal of accelerating the transition to sustainable mobility.

Since 2006, Elon Musk has founded four other companies dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence and its networking with humans (OpenAI & Neuralink), the development of solar power systems (SolarCity) and the development of hyperloop transport connections (The Boring Company).

Career highlights

– Co-founder of Zip2 – 1995
– Co-founder and CEO of and PayPal – 1999
– CEO and CTO of SpaceX – 2002
– CEO and product designer of Tesla – 2004
– Chairman SolarCity – 2006

Famous quotes

– “Patience is a virtue that I am still learning. It’s a tough lesson. ”
– “I am interested in things that have an impact on the future of the world. Wondrous new technologies that you see and wonder if that really happened. ”
– “I think ordinary people can choose to be exceptional.”
– “People should always strive to fulfill their passion. That makes us happier than anything else. ”

Success tips

It is important for Elon Musk that people have the courage to implement their visions. Simply philosophizing about how an idea should be realized is not enough. He once said:
“If something is important enough to you, you do it, even if the chances are against you.”

In this context, the entrepreneur also shows that failure here is a possibility that should not be overlooked:
“Failure is an option. If certain things don’t fail, you’re not innovative enough. ”

However, the chance of success is significantly higher if you manage to get your team enthusiastic about the idea to the same extent. The aim is that people not only do their work because it is paid, but because the employees like to do it and so you try to achieve a goal together. Or to put it in Elon Musk’s words:
“People work better when they know what they are doing and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and that they enjoy working. ”


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