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Visionary Tesla CEO Elon Musk is constantly in the news for his outlandish quotes and inspired ideas. While well-known for his role at Tesla, Musk is also a serial investor and entrepreneur.
As with any long-time investor, some of his efforts haven't quite panned out, but many have thrived and are among the most exciting names in technology. Here's a look at just a few of the companies that Elon Musk has invested in, some well-known and others still waiting to break major headlines.
Last updated: Oct. 13, 2021
Any list of Elon Musk's investments has to begin and end with Tesla, which has made history by being the first viable and profitable maker of electric vehicles. Musk and Tesla continue to innovate, from the original roadster to the newer Model S, Model 3 and new Roadster models. Tesla stock surged about 700% in 2020 alone, helping make Musk the richest person in the world.
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The second name that most people associate with Elon Musk is SpaceX. As with most things that Musk touches, SpaceX isn't "just" a rocket company. The primary appeal of SpaceX is that it is much more affordable than traditional rocket technology, due in large part to the fact that the company's rockets are self-landing and reusable. This type of innovation is setting the stage for the next major jump in space exploration, one of founder Musk's biggest dreams.
Musk's innovative investments are generally focused on technology, but they are actually quite diverse in terms of the actual industry. One of Musk's earliest investments was in a payment processing company that was the forerunner to PayPal, X.com. In that sense, Musk can be considered to be the father of email payment processing as well.
The Boring Company
In spite of its name, the Boring Company will do anything but put you to sleep. This Musk company aims to bring innovation to the problem of traffic via boring tunnels underground. One of its most exciting projects is Loop, an underground public transportation system that is all-electric with zero emissions. There is already one commercially operating Loop system at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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Musk is famously cautious about the future of artificial intelligence, worried about how it might be taken in the wrong direction. Perhaps Musk's investment in DeepMind was a way for him to keep tabs on what was developing in that industry. DeepMind, which has been acquired by Google, claims to want to "solve intelligence" by melding computer technology and neuroscience to create "artificial general intelligence."
Zip2 Corporation is notable because it is the first of Elon Musk's many known investments. Back when the internet needed yellow pages -- that is, before search engines like Yahoo and Google -- Zip2 Corporation filled in the blanks, way back in 1995. Musk later sold the company to Compaq in a $307 million deal, which at the time was the largest sum ever paid to acquire an internet company.
Neuralink is a company that Musk co-founded in 2016 that has recently raised $205 million in additional capital from Google Ventures and others. As the name implies, the company aims to create a neural link between brains and computers via high-bandwidth brain implants. While this can seem a bit "Terminator-esque," the company's first goal is to help quadriplegics interact with digital devices like computers and phones.
As the CEO of Tesla, Musk is well-known for supporting environmental and sustainable causes. Thus, it should be no surprise that he's a fan of SolarCity, which is one of the country's largest installers of solar panels. In fact, in 2016 Musk's Tesla actually acquired the company. This actually created legal problems for Musk, as he is currently in court defending the acquisition, which was said to unjustly enrich family members.
Musk seems to be very interested in technology and the mind, as NeuroVigil is yet another of his investments in that field. The company develops brain monitors and uses algorithms to look for indications of pathology in those that are not displaying other symptoms, such as those with brain cancer or neurodegeneration. Musk was one of a number of investors participating in the company's second financing round in 2015.
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While cryptocurrency is not a company, it's an important investment to Musk and dominates the news headlines. Some investors even call Musk the "DogeFather" for pumping up formerly obscure crypto Dogecoin into national prominence. But Musk has also made huge best on Ethereum and Bitcoin, the two largest cryptocurrencies. In fact, two of his companies, SpaceX and Tesla also own Bitcoin themselves. Musk is so influential in the crypto space that a single tweet can cause the prices of those assets to rise or fall precipitously.
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