Elon Musk, a polymath entrepreneur who nearly went bankrupt launching Tesla Motors and rocket company SpaceX, is now worth more than $20 billion.
On Wednesday, Forbes unveiled its annual Richest In Tech list, which ranks the 100 wealthiest self-made tech billionaires. Musk placed 12th in the order, at $20.7 billion, ahead of high-profile names including Paul Allen ($20.5 billion) and Eric Schmidt ($12.4 billion).
This week marks the first time Musk’s fortune has eclipsed $20 billion on Forbes’ rankings of the planet’s wealthiest people. In March, when Forbes released its list of The World’s Billionaires, his net worth stood at $13.9 billion.
Much of the increase since then is attributable to the soaring value of aerospace firm SpaceX. The company, which ultimately plans to send humans to Mars, raised $350 million last month at a valuation of about $21 billion; Musk owns more than half of the business. News of the funding round was first reported by the New York Times.
SpaceX has notched a number of significant achievements this year. In March, it sent a cargo payload into orbit with a previously-used rocket, making it the first private company to do so. More recently, on Wednesday, Musk revealed the first images of a SpaceX spacesuit on his personal Instagram page. He confirmed in February that the company will send humans to space as early as next year.
Progress at Tesla, Musk’s publicly-traded electric carmaker, has also been strong. The company is rolling out a new, lower-priced vehicle, the Model 3, to substantial demand and nearly universal acclaim. The business continues to rack up losses, but Tesla’s stock has nonetheless jumped 55% in the last year.
Musk, 46, realized his first major entrepreneurial success in 1999 selling software firm Zip2, which he cofounded, to Compaq for a reported price of more than $300 million; he had previously deferred graduate school at Stanford to start the business. He then made an even larger fortune after Paypal, which he also cofounded, was acquired by eBay for $1.4 billion in 2002.
Musk joined Tesla in 2004 as a key investor and became CEO in 2008, when the business struggled to find credit during the global financial crisis. He reportedly liquidated nearly all of his assets to fund continued development at Tesla and SpaceX, both of which were viewed as long-shot ventures by many outsiders.
Now, as SpaceX rockets fly further into space, Musk’s net worth seems to defy gravity as well. – Written by ,