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Elon’s Empire

Elon Musk. The name analogous to technology, space travel, electric vehicles, bitcoin and so much more! But how did his empire come about? It all started in the heart of South Africa where Musk was born and raised. From a young age, his ingenious ideas and unbounded intelligence have helped shape his career. Today Musk is among the richest people on Earth, with a net worth of 164 billion dollars; a far cry from his humble beginnings of living meal to meal.

Brain Spark: Musk created and sold a video game at age 12 to a magazine, for $500.

Timeline to Success


Musk, along with his brother Kimbal, set up Zip2 in 1995. It created maps and city guides which were also published in various newspapers. The company was sold for a record 307 million dollars in 1999 of which Musk made his first 7 million.

Brain Spark: Musk dropped out of Stanford University two days after joining, after which he founded Zip2.

In 1999, Musk co-founded, an online financial services and e-mail payment company whose nascent growth was almost unheard of. Within the first few months, over 2,00,000 customers joined the service. This company eventually went onto merge with PayPal which was later acquired by ebay.

Brain Spark: At age 17, Musk scored such a high score in an IQ test, he was made to retake it, citing foul play.


  • Now starts the real climb of his career. Set up in 2001, the goal of SpaceX was to reduce the gargantuan costs of space travel; the eventual long-term plan being - to help colonise Mars. In doing so SpaceX wants to help economise, democratise and minimise the waste associated with space travel.

  • Their first rocket to reach space was the Falcon 8 in 2008, and after that, it’s been unstoppable. SpaceX's active reusability test program began in late 2012 with testing low-altitude, low-speed aspects of the landing technology.

  • It first achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015 with the Falcon 9 Flight 20. NASA has signed multi million dollar deals with Space X and in 2020 it came to fruition, when NASA astronauts used a Space X rocket to reach the ISS.

  • SpaceX is also exploring a mode of high-speed passenger and freight transport called Hyperloop.

  • Starlink is a further extension of SpaceX’s technology, with the end goal to launch 12000 satellites into the lower earth orbit to provide high speed broadband for the world, currently about 1300 satellites are already in service.

Brain Spark: Musk’s mother, Maye Musk is a supermodel at the age of 70! She started around the age of 15, but her success came about in the latter half of her life.