The PayPal and SpaceX founder is estimated to have a net worth of $264.6 billion, making him the richest man in the world.
But how did Elon Musk become a billionaire?
Was Elon Musk born rich?
Elon Musk’s father, Errol Musk, was an engineer and entrepreneur.
According to Business Insider, Errol sold an aeroplane for £80,000 and with the cash in his hand, he was asked if he wanted to buy half an emerald mine for half the money–£40,000. He is said to have acquired emeralds from the mine for six years–employing a cutter in Johannesburg and selling the gems.
In 2017, Rolling Stone reported: “Errol was, by his own account, making money in the often dangerous worlds of construction and emerald mining –at times so much that he claims he couldn’t close his safe.”
However, Elon has denied claims that his father owned an emerald mine, and said that the Business Insider article was “false.” In a 2021 tweet, Elon said: “There’s no evidence whatsoever of an ‘emerald mine.’”
He went on to say: “My father and his extended family have been dependent on financial support from my brother and me for over 20 years.”
Elon has said he arrived in Canada with CA$2,500 and paid his own way through college, ending up with $100,000 of student debt. The billionaire said he started his first company with no funding and only the computer he built.
How did Elon Musk make his money?
Elon Musk has made billions from various business ventures – from founding PayPal and SpaceX to becoming the CEO of Tesla. His net worth is also based on his shares in Tesla, as he owns around 24%.
But how did he begin making money?
Musk’s first company – which he founded in 1995 – was an online local business directory called Zip2. In 1999, Compaq Computer Corp. bought Zip2 for $307 million and it became a part of the search engine AltaVista. The sale earned Musk $22 million.
He then founded an online bank called X.com which merged with Confinity in 2000 – and later rebranded as PayPal. When eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002, it is thought Musk made around $170 million, after taxes.
In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer, which has been valued at $74 billion. He joined Tesla in 2004 and became its CEO in 2008. The car company is thought to be worth more than $1 trillion.
He also founded tunnelling construction company The Boring Company, which has been valued at nearly $5.7 billion, according to CNN Business.
Musk also as co-founding nanotechnology company Neurolink and AI research company Open AI. He invested in SolarCity, which was sold to Tesla for $2.6 billion.