Elon Musk is the man behind many highly successful and innovative companies such as PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and is about to be the face of a new incredibly high-speed train called the Hyperloop. Here's what you need to know about the inventor and entrepreneur.
1. Elon Musk Just Released Designs for a High-Speed Train
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2013
Elon Musk recently made headlines by releasing his designs for a high-speed train that would transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. The train, called the Hyperloop, would reach speeds as fast as 800 miles per hour and would revolutionize travel as we know it.
2. He's From South Africa
Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa to Maye and Errol Musk. He graduated from Pretoria Boys High School.
3. He Left Home to Avoid Serving in the South African Military
#NW Elon Musk on Bloomberg TV. Apparently he left South Africa for Canada to avoid military service under Apartheid. Much respect.
— T Floyd (@thecrditcardguy) August 26, 2012
In 1988, Musk left Pretoria to avoid serving in he South African military.
"I don't have an issue with serving in the military, but serving in the South African army suppressing black people just didn't seem like a really good way to spend time," Musk said.
4. Musk Moved to America to Pursue His Dreams
"It is where great things are possible," he said.
5. He Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania
Musk graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving undergraduate degrees in both economics and physics. He then moved to the Silicon Valley to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics and materials science at Stanford, but left the program after just two days.
6. He Decided to Focus on Three Area's He Thought Would Benefit Humanity
With his bachelor's degrees, Musk decided to focus on the three areas that he thought were "important problems that would most affect the future of humanity."
"One was the Internet, one was clean energy, and one was space," Musk said.
7. The Entrepreneur's Start-Up Company Was Zip2
At the age of 23, Musk became a multimillionaire after selling Zip2, a software program that he developed with his brother, Kimbal Musk, to Compaq Computer. Zip2 provided online content publishing software for news organizations.
8. He Then Launched PayPal
Musk gained more success after co-founding X.com, an online financial services and e-mail payment company, in 1999. A year later, an acquisition led to the creation of PayPal as it is known today. In 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 million in stock.
9. Musk Founded SpaceX and Tesla Motors
The entrepreneur is mot known for founding his next two companies--SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. In 2008, NASA awarded the company a $1.6 billion contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station. SpaceX made history four years later when it launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space with an unmanned capsule. It was the first time a private company sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
"I feel very lucky," Musk was quoted as saying. "For us, it's like winning the Super Bowl."
Musk also co-founded Tesla Motors in 2003, which is dedicated to producing affordable electric cars.
10. He Has Also Contributed Largely to Charity
Among the many groundbreaking companies Musk has started, he also founded the Musk Foundation, which focuses its philanthropic efforts on science education, pediatric health and clean energy.