A Look At How Elon Musk’s Companies Have Performed Through The Years
With the recent Twitter takeover in jeopardy, here’s how Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and more have done under Musk’s tutelage
Everyone’s favourite or least favourite Twitter user (depending how you look at it), and billionaire, Elon Musk, has made it to the headlines again. The 50-year old’s takeover of Twitter, which was announced a month ago, is still drawing a lot of attention. While we wait for the saga to unfold, we take a look at Musk’s track record, with a focus on the companies he has acquired over the years and on how they’ve fared. Here’s what we found:
Despite not being the founder of the electric car company, Musk’s name is synonymous with Tesla. Elon first became the company’s largest shareholder back in 2004, with an investment of $6.5 million in the initial Series A funding round. Since then, the American has climbed the ladder to become the company’s CEO in 2008, overseeing the rollout of Tesla’s first commercially available car, the Roadster, in 2009.
Overall, it is difficult to deny Musk’s involvement in the success of Tesla. While the electric car company may not be as big as other Japanese or German brands, it is now one of the most valuable car companies in the world with a market cap of $1.13 Trillion.
A majority of its success can be attributed to Musk’s various marketing gimmicks, like his almost-Apple-like unveiling events. This has helped the billionaire in amassing a fortune of $246 billion, making him the richest man in the world. However, questions have been raised about Tesla’s inconsistent quality control standards, ever-extending deadlines and a forced crunch culture within the organisation.
But the majority of Musk’s net worth is tied up in Tesla shares — not cash — which is why the mogul is using an unconventional financing plan to cover his purchase of Twitter that included borrowing money using his Tesla shares as collateral.
Perhaps, Elon Musk’s most ambitious project, SpaceX was founded by the billionaire back in 2002. Along with the mission of taking humanity to Mars, the other primary objective of SpaceX is to provide a faster, cheaper alternative to atmospheric travel.
Despite initial failures, SpaceX has seen a string of success in the past few years, with agencies like NASA recruiting the company’s rockets to send its astronauts into orbit. In addition to all of this, SpaceX has also undertaken the launch of Starlink, which promises to provide internet connectivity to far corners of the world, including the Ukrainian army which is currently using it to fend off the Russian invasion.
According to a Business Insider report, the company raised nearly $1.5 billion last year, helping in increasing its valuation by 33 percent from $74 billion to $100 billion. It remains to be seen if the company maintains its upward trajectory (pardon the pun) in the coming future.
A project which seems to come straight out of a science-fiction movie, Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 with the aim to create brain implants for humans. The goal? To make us more intelligent and help heal traumatic memories, and physical brain injuries and even cure paralysis in some cases.
Musk argues that brain chips are the way forward if humanity were to keep up its pace with artificial intelligence. However, the project hasn’t been without its share of controversies, with a 2020 MIT Technology Review describing Neuralink as “neuroscience theatre,” adding that Musk is making promises that cannot be fulfilled.
Additionally, animal rights activists have also spoken out against the company, alleging that 15 test animals used during testing died in a “gruesome way.” Despite the claims, Neuralink has defended its stance and recently announced that it’ll be moving to human experimentation by the end of 2022.
The Boring Company
The Boring Company initially started as a subsidiary of SpaceX in 2016, but become its own independent entity in 2018. Perhaps Musk’s “least” ambitious project, the company’s mission is simple. To create tunnels beneath cities and shoot high-speed cars through them, to cut down on traffic.
Called “Hyperloop,” the project was seen as the next big thing back when it was announced. However, as time has passed, the company is yet to make notable progress yet. For instance, back in 2017, Musk had claimed that the hyperloop would reduce the travel time between New York City and Washington, D.C (364km) down to 29 minutes.
He also claimed he’d set up a hyperloop tunnel between downtown Chicago to the O’Hare Airport, but neither of those claims has come to fruition. Still, The Boring Company raised $675 million recently, pushing its valuation to nearly $5.7 billion.
(Image credits: Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company)