Whether it's the Internet, space travel, automobiles, or energy supply - whatever Elon Musk gets his hands on always becomes successful. These are his companies.
Elon Musk is not just Tesla. He has founded many other companies. The US American has a wide range of entrepreneurial interests. Recently, he has also been in Germany more often. That's because a Tesla Gigafactory is currently being built in Brandenburg, which the company claims will be the most advanced series production facility for electric vehicles in the world. Read more about the Tesla plant in Germany here.
Musk's fortune is estimated at around 131 billion euros. Especially at the beginning of his entrepreneurial career, Musk has repeatedly used his earnings to found new companies. And the range is wide: The U.S. American with South African roots invests primarily in future topics and other areas, such as comedy. And he encourages students to get involved with the technology of tomorrow in competitions.
An overview of the companies Musk has founded over the years:
Together with his brother Kimbal, Elon Musk founded Zip2 in 1995. The company built a searchable business directory and embedded the listings in online maps. Major newspaper publishers signed contracts with the startup. In 1999, Compaq acquired the company for just over $300 million; Musk received about $22 million.
Musk reinvested the money from the Zip2 sale in his start-up X.Com in 1999. The goal was to build an online bank. To do this, the company developed an online payment system that allowed people to pay by e-mail.
In 2000, X-Com and its start-up competitor Confinity, which had developed Paypal, merged. From then on, the companies operated only under the Paypal name.
eBay acquired the payment service in 2002 for $1.5 billion - $180 million of which went to Musk. He reinvested that money, too: he put $100 million into SpaceX, $70 into Tesla, and $30 into Solar City. Read more about the companies in the further text.
Musk is pursuing an ambitious goal with SpaceX (actually Space Exploration Technologies Corporation): the colonization of the planet Mars. To achieve this, he needs inexpensive rockets to transport people. And that's exactly what Musk wants to produce with SpaceX. While he was ridiculed for his space activities at the beginning, the company has shown in recent years that it should be taken seriously.
Six years after its founding, the company achieved its first success: the successful launch of a rocket into Earth orbit. A short time later, SpaceX won a major Nasa contract for twelve supply transports to the International Space Station (ISS).
Musk's company made headlines in September when, for the first time, tourists were launched into space on the "Falcon9" rocket without a professional astronaut. The "Inspiration4" mission is thus the first of its kind. Experts estimate that the space trip cost about 200 million dollars. Entrepreneur and billionaire Jared Isaacman, one of the four tourists, paid for it.
Musk has been investing in Tesla since 2004, and the company's goal is "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy." Tesla's first e-car - the Roadster - was launched in 2008. The company now has several models on offer.
The company also made headlines with its stock market value. This is worth more than Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW combined. In June 2020, the market value was more than 180 billion dollars.
As described above, Tesla is also coming to Germany this year and wants to manufacture electric cars in Brandenburg. The ZDF format 'Frontal21' has accompanied the construction of the new Tesla plant in Berlin for months with the camera and documented how politics and authorities come to their limits. Everything that normally takes years now has to be approved in just a few months. The article is available here.
Tesla also manufactures electricity storage products.
After his brother with Zip2, Musk also worked with his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. The two founded Solar City, a provider of solar cells, in 2006. Musk participated as an investor. The company rose to become the largest solar cell supplier in the U.S. and was acquired by Tesla in 2016.
Hyperloop was not an independent company but rather a project by Elon Musk with which he wanted to revolutionize mass transportation. The idea is to send closed capsules hurtling through double tubes at a speed of 1,200 kilometers per hour. 600 kilometers can thus be covered in just 35 minutes.
To advance the project, Musk has launched a design competition in which teams from around the world have participated. Winner in each of the four competitions: TUM Hyperloop, a student group from the Technical University of Munich. In July 2019, the team set the current world record of 482 km/h in the final SpaceX competition.
OpenAI is a non-profit company that researches artificial intelligence. The background: Musk is afraid that the big corporations will shape AI. Hence the creation of OpenAI. "Our mission is to ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity," the website says.
Investors include Microsoft, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman's charitable foundation, and venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.
In 2018, Musk left OpenAI to avoid a potential conflict of interest with Tesla. The car company is also researching AI. Musk, however, remains with the company as a donor and advisor.
Neuralink's goal is to develop ultra-high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers. In August 2020, Musk unveiled a chip designed to read and rewrite the brain.
Musk explained the exact technology during the chip's presentation.
Because he was annoyed by traffic jams, Musk founded "The Boring Company." With it, he wants to build tunnel-boring machines on moving traffic underground. The company has since built a 1.15-mile research and development tunnel in California and is currently working on the "Vegas Loop," a public transportation system at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Just like SpaceX, costs play an important role in this company, too: new technologies are to be used to push them down as far as possible.
Musk has also announced another competition - the Not-a-boring Competition. In this competition, teams from all over the world are trying to build the fastest tunnel boring machine in the world. One participant: TUM Boring, a group of students from Munich.
Thud falls completely off the grid. It's not about new technologies, nor is it about mobility. "Thud! That's the name of my new intergalactic media empire, exclamation point optional," Musk tweeted in March 2018. A year later, the company launched a website to poke fun at DNA testing.
According to 'The Atlantic,' the Tesla CEO sold Thud to former Onion editors Ben Berkley and Cole Bolto in early 2019.