Elon Reeve Musk is a business magnate and investor. He is the founder, CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX; angel investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI; president of the Musk Foundation; and owner and CEO of Twitter, Inc. With an estimated net worth of around $181 billion as of November 18, 2022, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes's real-time billionaires list.
Musk was born and grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. He attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at age 17, acquiring citizenship through his Canadian-born mother. Two years later, he matriculated at Queen's University and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received bachelor's degrees in economics and physics. He moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University, but dropped out after two days to instead pursue a business career, co-founding the web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal; the startup was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. The same year, Musk co-founded the online bank X.com, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal. eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, and is its CEO and chief engineer. In 2004, he was an early investor in the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.). He became its chairman and product architect, eventually assuming the position of CEO in 2008. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy company that was later acquired by Tesla and became Tesla Energy. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company. The following year, he co-founded Neuralink—a neurotechnology company developing brain–computer interfaces—and The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. In 2022, Musk purchased the social media platform Twitter for $44 billion. He has proposed a hyperloop high-speed vactrain transportation system, and is the president of the philanthropic Musk Foundation.
Musk has made controversial statements on politics and technology, particularly on Twitter, and is a highly polarizing figure. He has also been criticized for making unscientific and misleading statements, such as spreading COVID-19 misinformation. In 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk for falsely tweeting that he had secured funding for a private takeover of Tesla. Musk stepped down as chairman of Tesla and paid a $20 million fine as part of a settlement agreement with the SEC. Following his failed submarine proposal during the Tham Luang cave rescue, Musk won a defamation case brought against him by a British caver involved in the operation.