- Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is now ranked as the 22nd richest person at $41 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is ranked as the 22nd richest person at $41 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Since the beginning of the year, Musk’s net worth grew by about $13.5 billion. This surge in net worth is largely attributed to the growth in Tesla’s stock price. At the beginning of the year, Tesla’s stock was trading at about $430 and it has nearly doubled since then.
Musk was originally born in South Africa where his father worked as an engineer and his mother as a nutritionist. At the age of 17, he left South Africa to attend college in Canada at Queen’s University. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to obtain a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School and a bachelor’s degree in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences. After that, Musk started a Ph.D. in applied physics and material sciences at Stanford University but then decided to drop out to start a business.
In 1995, Musk launched an online publishing service called Zip2 with his brother Kimbal and it sold about four years later for over $300 million. Then he reinvested some of the earnings from that sale to launch an online bank called X.com. X.com merged with Confinity in 2000 — which ended up being the foundation for PayPal (acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002)
In 2002, Musk also founded aerospace manufacturing company SpaceX and serves as CEO and lead designer. And in 2004, Musk joined Tesla and became its CEO and product architect. In 2006, Musk also helped launch solar energy services company SolarCity (IPO in 2012 and acquired by Tesla in 2016) with his cousins Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive.
Musk co-founded friendly AI nonprofit research company OpenAI in 2015 and then co-founded neurotechnology company Neuralink in July 2016. And in December 2016, Musk founded a tunnel construction company The Boring Company.
This past week was especially a successful one for Musk between the receiving of a $770 million bonus via Tesla and the first astronaut launch for SpaceX becoming a success.
$770 Million Bonus This Past Week
Of Musk’s $41 billion net worth, Musk was awarded Tesla stock worth about $770 million this past week alone as the automaker hit certain goals.
A few weeks ago, Musk began a narrative that seemed off-brand. Musk wrote tweets about how the state of California’s business lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic was “fascist.” And during an earnings call, Musk said: “I would call it… forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their Constitutional rights, in my opinion, and breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country… It’s an outrage.”
Musk criticized the government and medical professionals. And he said that the shutdown of businesses would be more harmful than the virus. Shortly after that, Musk made a second appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast where he revealed the selling of his homes to become less materialistic.
That announcement was made as Musk and singer Grimes had welcomed the birth of their first child. Musk and Grimes named their son”X Æ A-12″ (pronounced “Ex Ash A Twelve”), but that name was illegal under California law since it contained characters that are not in the modern English alphabet so it was changed to “X Æ A-Xii.”
Musk was criticized by state officials for saying that he wanted to keep his factory open. Musk threatened to relocate the Tesla factory from the state of California and build electric vehicles elsewhere in response. Musk revealed the plans around reopening the factory with a list of health measures that were implemented and he suggested that he should be arrested first if law enforcement pursues legal action. Musk was allowed to reopen the factories and so the stock price surged this past week.
As the head of Tesla, Musk had a contract that offered him the bonus if the market value of Tesla’s stock was at a certain level for a set amount of time. The contract allowed Musk to receive the right to buy 1.688 million shares of Tesla stock at a price of $350.02. If those options were exercised, it would offer an immediate $770 million bonus. And this bonus tranche is part of a larger multibillion-dollar package.
“Now, we know that there was an ulterior motive to this public drama,” wrote Forbes senior contributor Jack Kelly in a recent article. “If the manufacturing plant was shut down, things would have turned out poorly for Musk. The media would broadcast that the Tesla factory wasn’t producing cars. If cars are not made, they can’t be sold. If they’re not sold, revenues stop and any hopes of profits evaporate. The stock price would most likely plummet, as the company would find itself in a tough financial situation. The fall in value of the stock price would render the multimillion-dollar option worthless.”
Since the plant stayed open, the cars were produced and Musk received the bonus.
SpaceX’s First Astronaut Launch Becomes A Success
On Saturday, May 30, 2020, SpaceX successfully launched astronauts to space for the first time:
“I’m really quite overcome with emotion on this day, so it’s kind of hard to talk, frankly,” said Musk during a post-launch press conference at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday evening via Space.com. “It’s been 18 years working towards this goal, so it’s hard to believe that it’s happened.”
The interview was conducted a few hours SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the historic Launch Complex 39A. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were on board the Crew Dragon spacecraft. This means that SpaceX became the first private company to launch astronauts for NASA. And the crewed test flight (called Demo-2) was also the first crewed launch from the U.S. since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.
SpaceX and Boeing were both selected for NASA’s commercial crew program to reduce their dependence on Russia’s Soyuz for flying astronauts once the shuttle program ended.
Assuming that the Demo-2 test flight works out, then SpaceX will launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA and other space agencies and private companies. The first operational Crew Dragon mission — which is called Crew-1 — could potentially launch to the International Space Station on August 30 with 3 NASA astronauts and 1 astronaut from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Earlier today, Behnken and Hurley docked with the ISS. They are joining the three-person crew of ISS Expedition 63 and will spend between one to four months at the station.