The world has got a new richest man. Yes, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was till yesterday. Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has replaced him. He is the same man who nearly went broke in 2008, calling the year the ‘worst’ time of his life. Twelve years on, he shrugs it off when a Twitter account calls him the ‘richest person’ and replies with ‘how strange’ and ‘well, back to work’ tweets.
On Thursday, Elon Musk’s net worth reached $188.5 billion surging past Jeff Bezos by over $1.5 billion, who held the top spot for over three years.
The development followed a 4.8% rise in Tesla’s share price on Thursday that pushed him atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.
From almost a broke to the world’s wealthiest man, what the journey entailed for Elon Musk in the last 12 years?
Let’s go even four more years back to 2004. When Musk entered electric carmaker Tesla with a massive investment of $70 million and developed its first car, the Roadster, in just two years.
In 2008, however, Tesla faced a big financial crisis and Musk, a chairman by now, moved forward pumping another $40 million into the company from his account. Soon he was made the CEO of Tesla, but he had almost gone broke handling two more companies SpaceX and SolarCity alongside. He termed 2008 as ‘the worst year of his life.’
Elon Musk benefitted from the rise of SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp), an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company, which he had founded in 2002 with $100 million he received from the sale of PayPal.
SpaceX witnessed a windfall in 2008 winning a $1.5 billion contract with NASA for delivering supplies into space. And right on cue, investors began to pour money into Tesla. On the back of it, in June 2010, the electric car company garnered $226 million launching an initial public offer (IPO). That was a landmark moment for Elon Musk because after Ford no U.S auto had gone public since 1956.
While the economy across the world has been reeling under the coronavirus pandemic, Musk’s net worth in the last year climbed by over $150 billion as the price of Tesla shares rallied 743%. Plus, the company made steady profits and joined the S&P 500 Index, inspiring the confidence of Wall Street and retail investors.
South Africa-born engineer, Elon Musk, has 20% stake in Tesla, apart from that, according to the Bloomberg, he enjoys a $42 billion unrealized paper gain on vested stock options.
Though, Musk has never been materialistic. He is a man on Mission Mars. Turning 50 this year, Musk doesn’t expect to die rich. He doesn’t even keep tabs on his money.
In an interview to BBC in 2014, Musk said he doesn’t have anything against the pursuit of wealth if earned ethically, but money is not what drives him. He said he thinks most of his money will be spent building a base on Mars, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the project consumed his entire fortune.
Speaking on an award show webcast from Germany, Elon Musk recently said he is highly confident that his company will land humans on Mars by 2026. He is firm that SpaceX will file for an IPO only after his ‘Mars Colonial Transporter’ starts flying regularly.
Born to a model-dietician Maye Musk and electromechanical engineer Errol Musk, Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes in pursuing his passions. Be it learning to code by himself, building a video game at the age of 12 or becoming a millionaire at 27, Elon Musk has been setting milestones, since he has never been afraid of thinking big and always been ready to take risks ignoring the critics.