In 1995, Elon and his brother Kimbal asked their father for a loan to start a company. That company was called Zip2. It licensed city guide software to newspapers. It doesn't sound like much, but in 1999, it was bought for $305 million.
Excited about his new fortune, he started a company named X.com the month after. It was a service that allowed the user to pay for things and be paid online. He used $10 million of the $22 million he got from Zip2 to create it.
In 2001, it was renamed PayPal. It was then sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk got $165 million from this. In 2017, he bought the web domain X.com back from PayPal. He said his reasoning was its sentimental value, but did not say how much he paid for it.
He then had an idea for a greenhouse on Mars he called Mars Oasis. He thought it would reawaken public interest in space exploration. He went to Moscow to buy a few rockets and get working. The companies he met with didn't take him seriously, and an engineer actually spat on him once. He came back to the US with no rockets, but an idea. He thought of how to create affordable, reusable rockets. He put in around $100 million and created SpaceX.
SpaceX is a company that revolves around the ideas of making cheap and reusable rockets, and also to create a civilization on Mars. After their first successful launch (2006), NASA approached them with a $1.6 billion deal for resupplying the International Space Station (ISS) 12 times. This allowed for the Space Shuttle to be replaced after it retired in 2011.
That same year, they had a contract with NASA to create a manned aircraft, named "Dragon 2," which goes on top of either the Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy (pictured) rockets. In 2015, they successfully landed a Falcon 9 back on the ground after the flight. This was the first time any rocket has landed back on Earth to be reused after an orbital flight.
In 2017, they unveiled the BFR (now "Starship"), which is a rocket designed for manned interplanetary travel. Musk hopes to one day use it for regular trips between Earth and Mars, similar to a plane between countries. There is a trip to Mars planned for 2022, but sadly there will be no people aboard. Musk hopes for a civilization of 80,000 on Mars by 2040.
Although he did not found Tesla, in 2004 Musk was an investor, putting him on the board of directors for the company. He oversaw production of the Roadster, their first car. After the 2008 financial crisis, the CEO was ousted, and Musk took the position. He holds the record for the longest time being CEO of a car company.
His plan is to create an expensive electric car, which would finance production for a less expensive one, which would finance production for a less expensive one, and so on until electric cars are so affordable they are preferred.
"We will not stop until every car on the road is electric."
After the Roadster came the Model S, which is quite a common car on the road today. In 2012, Model S was shipping while Model X (pictured), their SUV, was announced. In 2015, Model X began to ship. Model 3, Tesla's most affordable option, was unveiled in 2016 at a starting price of $35,000.
They also have Model Y (a more affordable SUV), Cybertruck (an electric pick-up), Semi (an electric semitruck), and Roadster (a refreshed version of the original sportscar). Tesla also focuses on clean energy. They sell solar panels, and have made battery-powered factories across the world.
SolarCity is a company acquired by Tesla. It manages their solar energy division. They develop Tesla's solar panels and their "Solar Roof." Solar Roof is a product offered that is a solar panel, but it looks like a roof tile, that way you can have the benefits of solar without the panels on top of your house. SolarCity's panels and Solar Roof store the energy in a "Powerwall," which is also developed by Tesla. You can have more than one. They are basically big batteries that power your house, and you can charge your car with them too.
Musk created Neuralink. It is a company that is developing devices that can be implanted into the brain, which claims to allow humans to keep up with technological advancements. The possibilities are endless, but Musk usually brings up improved memory and the ability to interact with devices, allowing you to control them with your mind, or access them without lifting a finger. He says it will be able to cure problems such as blindness, paralysis, deafness, and many other conditions.
The Boring Company
He also created The Boring Company in 2016. In December, he tweeted about traffic being a problem in LA, and said he was going to start building tunnels underneath large cities. People thought he was joking, but then he started digging. There is already one underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, and he plans to create an entire network, allowing for less traffic.
He created OpenAI, an organization that plans on allowing the public to use AI software freely. Its goal is to develop AI in a way that is safe and beneficial to humanity. This way AI isn't only for billionaires and governments, but for the people.
He also created Hyperloop, a company that plans on creating depressurized tubes, allowing for safe travel between designated locations at speeds of up to 760 mph. Think of it as a metro that is over 15 times faster than the New York City Subway.
Musk has been married three times, and is currently dating. His first wife, Justine Wilson, he married in 2000. They had a son who died at 10 weeks old. They then had twins, both boys, and triplets, all boys. The couple divorced in 2008. He shares custody of the 5 boys with Wilson.
He then married Talulah Riley in 2010. He then got a divorce in 2012, and got remarried to her in 2013. In 2014, he filed for divorce, but withdrew it later. In 2016, Talulah filed for divorce, which was then finalized.
In 2018, he announced he was dating the musician known as Grimes. They are not married. They do have a son, who is named X AE A-XII, with "X" as his first name and "AE A-XII" as his middle name (Pictured to the right).