Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s incredible project factory

Elon Musk is an entrepreneur extraordinaire.  He has progressed from founding a start-up company during the dot-com mania, called Zip2 when fresh out of college, to taking on NASA with his SpaceX endeavours.

Born and raised in South Africa, Elon Musk purchased his first computer at age 10. He taught himself how to program, and when he was 12 he made his first software sale—of a game he created called Blastar. At age 17, in 1989, he moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University, but he left in 1992 to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed for a second bachelor’s degree in physics.

After leaving Penn, Elon Musk headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a Ph.D. in energy physics. His move was timed perfectly with the Internet boom, and he dropped out of Stanford after just two days to become a part of it, launching his first start-up company, Zip2 Corporation.

Musk became a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold Zip2 to a division of Compaq Computers for $307 million. Later he achieved more success by founding X.com, which sold PayPal to eBay for a whopping $1,5 billion. 

Never one to rest on his laurels, Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station—with plans for astronaut transport in the future—in a move to replace NASA’s own space shuttle missions.

The boundless potential of space exploration and the preservation of the future of the human race have become the cornerstones of Musk's abiding interests, and toward these he founded the Musk Foundation, which is dedicated to space exploration and the discovery of renewable and clean energy sources.

Another Musk venture is Tesla Motors, a company dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars. Five years after its formation, the company in 2008 unveiled the Roadster, a sports car capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, as well traveling 400km between charges of its lithium ion battery. With a stake in the company taken by Daimler and a strategic partnership with Toyota, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering in June 2010, raising $226 million.

Additional successes include the Model S, the company's first electric sedan which was honoured as the 2013 Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine. In March 2016 they started selling their much hyped Tesla Model 3.

Musk has continued his work in attempting to make his innovative ideas a reality. In August 2013, he released a concept for a new form of transportation called the "Hyperloop," an invention that would foster commuting between major cities while severely cutting travel time. Ideally resistant to weather and powered by renewable energy, the Hyperloop would propel riders in pods through a network of low-pressure tubes at speeds reaching more than1000 km/h. Musk noted that the Hyperloop could take from seven to 10 years to be built and ready for use.

Over the next few editions of ProjectPro eNews we will be taking a more in-depth look at Musk's endeavours.

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