Elon Musk isn’t like most people.
Only 14 years after making his first millions, Elon Musk is one of the most influential businessmen alive today. He’s involved with more industries than your average person has hobbies.
Rather than use the wealth he’s attained for leisure, Musk has repeatedly shown that he would prefer to spend his money on turning his passion projects into companies that change the world.
That isn’t to say education wasn’t important for Musk: he earned Bachelors degrees in both business and physics from the University of Pennsylvania before venturing into the world of startups.
He made his first millions when in 1999 when Compaq bought Zip2, a company Musk founded with his brother, in a deal that earned him a cool $22 million.
While his career was ramping up, Musk in 2000 married Justine Musk. The couple went on to have five kids: a set of twins and a set of triplets, all of whom are boys. (Musk is now twice divorced; a second marriage from 2010 to 2012 also fell apart.)
From there, Elon’s successes started compounding on themselves. A year after selling his first company, his second startup bought what came to be known as PayPal. Only two years later, he sold PayPal (of which he had an 11.7% stake) to eBay for $1.5 billion.
Before the sale of PayPal was complete, he founded one of the two companies that has made Musk so famous over the last few years: SpaceX.
In 2004, he joined the other: Tesla Motors. After leading an early investment round, he was brought in as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 2006, Musk’s cousin Lyndon Rive founded SolarCity based on a concept initially created by Elon himself. Musk became Chairman and the largest shareholder of SolarCity, which has gone on to become the single largest provider of solar power in the United States.
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2006 was also the year Tesla went mainstream, with its Roadster winning Time Magazine’s Invention of the Year award in the Transportation category.
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