Even if you don't pay a great deal of attention to the news, there is no doubt that you're familiar with the name Elon Musk. The truth of the matter is that you would have to crawl underneath a rock in order to not know who this person is. That's because he's in the news for one thing or another almost all of the time.
It doesn't matter if you're talking about mainstream news that you watch in a more traditional manner or if you're looking at things online, he always seems to be the topic of conversation somehow.
There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which includes the fact that he heads up a number of high-profile companies. As a matter of fact, he currently owns no less than four companies (five if you count subsidiaries) and he's looking at purchasing a fifth one. If you want to know more about him and the companies he runs, all you have to do is keep reading.
The News Story That is Elon Musk
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of different reasons that Musk ends up in the news all the time. Part of it is certainly because he is a successful entrepreneur and he runs a number of successful companies.
He has a great deal of money and that's something that always seems to fascinate the general public. However, he also ends up in the news a lot because he can be somewhat mysterious. People often don't know what to think of him.
Some think that he is an absolutely brilliant entrepreneur and others think that he should probably be occupying a padded cell at this point. While the jury still seems to be out on whether Musk is brilliant or completely crazy, it doesn't change the fact that he currently owns four companies, many of them very successful.
Again, it's worth mentioning that he's also looking at purchasing another one. However, before we get into that, let's dive into a company that he used to own, one that virtually everyone has some type of experience using.
The Company That Was
Almost everyone is familiar with PayPal. There's even an overwhelming chance that you've used it yourself. Maybe you use it all the time. Even if that's not the case, it's highly unlikely that you don’t at least know what it is.
What you might not know is that the company was actually founded in its original form by Elon Musk, all the way back in the latter portion of 1999. At the time, it wasn't called PayPal, but X.com.
For some reason, Musk seems to have an affinity for naming his companies this way. At the time he created it, it was meant to be the equivalent of an online bank, which it still is in many ways. Why don't you remember him owning this company? It's probably because eBay purchased it in 2001 for the rather hefty sum of $1.5 billion.
That's when the company changed its name and became PayPal. It's also when its popularity really took off and everybody started to know it in the sense that it exists today.
Heavy on Nostalgia
If you think that's the end of the PayPal story, think again. In 2017, Musk bought back the rights to the name X.com, something that had become part of PayPal's property when he sold the company so many years before.
It's all for the sake of having a website with a single “x” in the corner. While the amount of money he paid for this has not been publicly disclosed, it is believed to be over $1 billion.
This is probably one of the reasons that some individuals think that he's more crazy than smart. Musk himself even said that the only reason he wanted it was because he was nostalgic for the name. Go figure. Anyway, it's time to move on to the companies he currently owns.
Entrepreneurship and Dollars Galore
Just in case you're wondering how much Musk is currently worth as he heads up all these companies, it's listed at $220.8 billion. Where does all this money come from?
As you know, he's one of the more high-profile entrepreneurs of his time. Currently, he owns four companies. Three of them include Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company. In order to better understand these companies, let's take a look at each one of them individually.
Most people probably associate him with this company more than anything else. If you're not already aware, they are an electric car maker, one that has been quite successful despite a number of issues with the quality of the automobiles produced.
One of the more interesting things is that he actually only owns about 25% of the company at this time, yet he has more than 50% of the company's value tied up in collateral for previous loans. This seems like it would be impossible to do. Some people might even question whether or not it's legal to do such a thing.
Apparently, when you have as much money as Musk, you can find a way to do things that makes most people scratch their heads in confusion. It's interesting to note that this particular company was founded in 2003 and currently enjoys an annual revenue of approximately $18.76 billion.
At the moment, they're producing four different all-electric vehicles and of course, the batteries that power them. However, they recently moved into other areas of production as well.
For example, they also make solar panels and specialized batteries that are designed to allow homeowners to use those solar panels to create their own electrical grid, effectively taking those homes off the grid all together.
This is accomplished through allowing them to produce their own electricity, which is much more environmentally friendly. It will be interesting to see how things go in this direction as the company proceeds.
As far as the home energy part is concerned, it’s actually operated as a subsidiary of Tesla, called TeslaEnergy. Therefore, some people count this as a completely separate company.
If that’s how you see things, then Musk doesn’t currently have four companies, he has five. That being said, almost an equal number of people group this part of the company with Tesla as a whole. Either way, Musk has to be a very busy man in order to keep up with it all.
As previously mentioned, Musk seems to have a thing for putting an “x” in the name of his companies. This is actually a shortened version of the official name, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation.
A lot of people seem to think that this company was founded much more recently than it actually was, largely because it didn't start hitting the mainstream news until a few years ago. That being said, the company has actually been around since 2002.
When the company was founded, the sole goal in doing so was to make space exploration more accessible for everyone by reducing the cost associated with it. In reality, Musk founded the company with the intention of colonizing Mars, something that he himself has confirmed a number of times over the years.
These days, they manufacture spacecraft and send them off on their own journeys, but colonizing Mars isn't quite a reality just yet. When they're not doing that, they're creating communication satellites for various companies.
The Boring Company
Most people get caught up on the fact that this company definitely utilizes a play on words when it comes to its name. In all seriousness, it's a company that was founded by Musk to solve a very real problem, the fact that there is far too much traffic on roads all over the world.
The traffic problem has become so severe that it's almost impossible for people to get around without taking all day to do so. The idea behind this company is to create tunnels that go through mountains.
This is to run underwater and bore through practically anything else that might get in their way in order to relieve some of the stress caused by heavy traffic on the surface roads. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but the company hasn't made any great strides as of yet, at least not when compared to Tesla and SpaceX.
That being said, the company was valued at $5.7 billion, a goal they reached after receiving an additional $675 million in funding this past April. As is the case with most companies owned by Musk, it will be interesting to see what types of things this company gets involved with in the future.
This is undoubtedly one of the strangest startups that Musk has ever been involved with. Just as the name implies, it involves creating implantable devices that interact with the human brain. These interfaces are referred to as BMI. It stands for Brain-Machine Interface. This is enough to make most people feel unsettled at best.
The company started operations in 2016 and still operates out of San Francisco, California. You might think that a company like this would be working to help individuals who have certain neurological disorders live fuller, more complete lives.
Instead, the company is focusing on creating these implantable interfaces that can then allow individuals to use technology without physically typing something in on their smartphone or their laptop.
The goal is for someone to have one of these things implanted in their brain and eventually, to be able to merely think about sending a text to someone and have their smartphone pick up on it and do so. They call it interfacing with technology and making the most of its potential.
For most people, the very thought of merely thinking something and having their smartphone light up is disconcerting, even under the best of circumstances.
Nevertheless, Musk shares his vision with scientists that have the technology to at least create something they can operate in the initial stages. Who knows what the future will bring with regard to this type of stuff. It's almost too scary to even think about.
If you've been following the news, then you know that Musk was all set to buy Twitter for more than $44 billion. However, the deal fell through because he had a concern about there being too many bots on the system.
Eventually, he rescinded his offer to purchase the company, creating a hail storm within Twitter that even had news outlets reporting that the company would sue him over his decision.
More recently, he has re-extended his offer to buy Twitter for the same amount of money that he offered the first time around. Who knows how this will eventually pan out? It's seemingly moving forward but you never know.....
Whether you love him or hate him, there is no arguing that musk is definitely one of the most notable entrepreneurs of this time, and perhaps of all time. After all, there aren't that many people that have managed to create as many high-profile startups as Musk has. Some of his business decisions definitely seem questionable, but none of that seems to have hurt his bank account one bit. Only time will tell how things will go with the companies that he currently heads up, as well as any corporations he might choose to either purchase or develop in the future.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee