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Where does Elon Musk’s fortune come from?

by Rex Daniel

The world’s richest man has an inspiring trajectory marked by controversy and contradiction

Fabio Previdelli | @fabioprevidelli_ Published on 05/07/2022 at 00:00 – Updated at 10:27

Billionaire, controversial and tech lover. Elon Musk can be described in a few words, more than enough to fit in a single Tweet. Although he’s been one of the most high-profile people in recent years – mostly because he spent $44 billion to buy Twitter late last month – the paths that led him to the position of richest man in the world are still without his knowledge.

According to a ranking by American magazine Forbes, the South African’s wealth is estimated at around $219 billion, something in the region of an impressive R$1.021 trillion. But where does all the money come from?

entrepreneurial musk

international model, Maye Haldemann was on the cover of several magazines, such as Time and Vogue. In 1969, she was a finalist in the Miss South Africa beauty pageant. A year later, she married the mechanical engineer and businessman Musk Errolwith whom he had three children: rough, kimbal and Elon.

The eldest of the family, Elon, was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, capital of South Africa, enjoying all the comforts that his wealthy family could provide him. Despite the luxury, he had to deal with his parents’ divorce at a very young age, when he was 8 years old.

Photograph of Elon Musk in the yearbook / Credit: Disclosure / YouTube / CNN

With the separation, he saw his brothers choose their mother’s side, while he left alone to live with his father. The New York Times, for its part, called his childhood “excruciating”.

The Washington Post points out that Error he has always been hard on his children. On one occasion he reportedly ordered that Elon and kimbal “to be silent for four hours while he taught them.”

Despite everything, the current richest man in the world has already shown himself to be a great entrepreneur since childhood. At age 12, for example, UOL points out, he landed his first contract writing video game code for PC and Technology magazine, for $500.

When he moved to Canada at age 17, he worked several menial jobs to pay for the Queen’s University. At the institution, he earned some money by starting to sell parts and complete computers to other students.

A few months later, he was transferred to University of Pennsylvania (United States), where in 1995 he obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics and another in economics. His excellent academic performance earned him good internships in two Silicon Valley startups: Pinnacle Research Institute, which takes care of the energy storage area; and the rocket science gameswho develops games.

In addition, he obtained a PhD position at Stanford, in the field of materials science. However, he dropped out of the course early on to found a software company with his brother. kimbal.

from a thousand to a million

As UOL reported, Error helped the children with approximately $28,000 as an “angel investor”. In 1992, Zip2 was sold for $307 million to Compaq, with Elon took about 7% of that value, something in the region of 22 million.

In the same year, the entrepreneur founded X.com, which worked with online payments. The company merged with online bank Confinity soon after, giving birth to PayPal, which had musk as a majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay bought the company for $1.5 billion – $175.8 million, or 11.72%, going to South Africa.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX / Credit: Getty Images

This time, Elon Musk he was only 31 years old, but his fortune was already enormous. In the same year, he used $100 million to start the Space Exploration Technologies, SpaceX, a space exploration company. Two years later, he started investing in the electric car maker You’re herefounded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

overcome bankruptcy

However, big investments also come with big risks. And if it wasn’t for a loan from the US government, musk maybe he would never get to where he is now. After all, according to UOL, the agency loaned him $456 million to stave off Tesla’s bankruptcy in 2008.

At the time, he had divorced his first wife, Justine Musk, at the end of this year. at the time, Elon he even claimed that he had “no more money” and that he lived only on loans from his friends. All to keep your businesses running as close to normal as possible.

But that all changed in 2010, when Tesla went public. The sale of shares made the fortune of musk grow exorbitantly. Two years later, he was on the Forbes richest list with a net worth of two billion dollars.

The controversial emerald mine

As has already been said, Elon Musk he was brought up with the most diverse luxuries he could enjoy, as his family was extremely wealthy. And it is precisely the reason for this wealth that causes enormous controversy to this day.

Elon Musk, in 2019 / Credit: Getty Images

As pointed out in the Business Insider South Africa, Error became co-owner of an emerald mine in 1980. At the time, he, who was a mechanical engineer and airline pilot, went to England on board an airplane. the father of musk and his co-pilot hope to resell the vehicle when they land there.

However, this never happened, as they realized the initial flight would cost a lot of money. “We were then going to fly to Jeddah [Arábia Saudita] and there was a religious holiday. They said if we enter now we have to pay $2000, but if we wait 10 days we can enter for free. So we decided to go back to Lake Tanganyika where we were from, I think we were in Djibouti”, remembers his father. Elon.

There the two met a group of Italians who were ready to buy an airplane. The sale was made for 80 thousand dollars. With cash in hand, he received an offer he couldn’t refuse: to buy half an emerald mine for $40,000.

“I said, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ So I became part owner of the mine and we received emeralds for the next six years,” Errol recalls. The decision turned out to be the most profitable possible.

We were very rich. We had so much money that sometimes we couldn’t even close our safe,” he said on another occasion to the Business Intern.

He added that one person should keep the money in place and another should close the safe door to put everything in place. “And then there would still be all these bills coming out and we would kind of take them out and put them in our pockets.”

Despite the words of the father, as evidenced by the team of the site Aventuras na História, Elon Musk says the story is completely false: “I came to Canada alone in 1989 with C$2,500 [dólares canadenses]. I paid for my own college, ending up with $100,000 in student debt. I started the 1st business with no funding and just a computer I built. There is no evidence of an emerald mine.

Currently, Musk’s fortune is estimated at $219 billion, which makes him the richest person in the world today. The second place is occupied by Jeff Bezos, who has 171 billion US dollars (797.25 billion reais).

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