Entrepreneur Profile: Elon Musk

Elon MuskOne of the most influential entrepreneurs of the past three decades, Elon Musk is a co-founder of PayPal, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and the chairman of Solar City. Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa and moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1992, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics and economics. To complete his schooling, Musk began graduate studies in physics at Stanford University. However, Musk dropped out after deciding there were greater entrepreneurial opportunities with the internet than studying physics.

Musk’s career as an entrepreneur began early before moving from South Africa where he created and sold his own video game to a magazine. However, his career didn’t start in earnest until 1995 when he dropped out of Stanford and founded Zip2, a map and business directory provider for online newspapers. Musk sold Zip2 in 1999 and founded X.com which he sold as Paypal in 2002 for $1.5 billion to eBay. Never one to rest on his laurels, Musk quickly turned around and founded SpaceX, an organization dedicated to making affordable rockets. While working with SpaceX, Musk began funding Tesla Motors in 2004, the electric car company started by Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard. Musk also provided the initial concept for SolarCity and became the largest shareholder after it was founded by his cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rive. More recently, Musk has been working on a proposal for a new form of green, high-speed transportation between LA and San Francisco deemed the Hyperloop as well becoming more involved in the international community on artificial intelligence research and regulation.

While Elon Musk’s extensive entrepreneurial experience is impressive, what makes Musk truly stand out is his attitude towards entrepreneurship. In every venture, Musk gives great consideration to how his work contributes to humanity in the most efficient way possible. For example Musk began SpaceX because of his desire to see human life continue on other planets. Another instance is his dedicated work with Tesla Motors, where the company did not turn a profit until 2013 but the actual products produced pave the way for a cleaner, brighter future for humanity. Beyond running and financing these companies, Musk works hands on to apply his deep understanding of physics and computers to make the products he is selling the best they can be. Moreover, Musk embodies the industrial idealism of every entrepreneur and shows that entrepreneurism is interdisciplinary.

For more information on Elon Musk you can follow him on twitter.