He's been called everything from the next Steve Jobs to the most important man in the world...
Elon Musk, with his unapologetic arrogant charm and his ability to turn outdated industries on their heads while making billions in the process, is, in fact, one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history.
And those who have followed him and invested alongside him have created absolute fortunes.
So let's take a look at Elon Musk's investment strategies over the years — and, more importantly, discuss how you can take part in his next billion-dollar payoff.
The First $1.5 Billion is the Hardest
One of the earliest obstacles for e-commerce was the ability to provide a peer-to-peer system that would allow buyers and sellers to conduct business using a common payment platform. But this obstacle was quickly overcome with the success of PayPal, Inc.
And one of the main architects of this game-changing company was none other than Elon Musk.
Musk was a brilliant marketer of PayPal and took a sizable stake himself, owning 11.7% of the company's shares before it was sold in 2002 for $1.5 billion in stock. Musk made a fortune!
Of course, while PayPal is a household name these days, the name Elon Musk was really only known to investors and tech insiders back then. But that soon changed when Musk had the audacity to launch an electric vehicle company in the face of intense criticism from the auto industry, investment analysts, and the media.
That being said, there were also plenty of believers. And when Musk took his electric car company, known as Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) public, those believers loaded up the boat.
On its first day of trading on June 29, 2012, Tesla closed at $23.89. By August, 2013, the stock hit $158.88. My friends, that's a gain of more than 565%. And that was just with one Elon Musk investment.
It's no wonder so many folks now jump on anything Musk invests in.
Early investors who followed Musk have become extremely rich. And Musk? Well, he just keeps getting richer. In fact, his initial $1.14 billion stake in Tesla alone grew to $3.24 billion by June, 2013.
But that's just the beginning...
While Tesla helped grow Musk's fortune by $2.1 billion from January, 2013 to June, 2013, another investment he made increased his wealth by an additional $766 million. Again, just from January, 2013 to June, 2013.
This investment was in solar financing company SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY).
In April, 2013, Musk owned 20.8 million shares of this solar company. By February 2013, they were worth over $1.5 billion. Unreal!
Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity, and this company was actually founded by his cousins. So when SolarCity went public, Musk followers once again ponied up.
On its first day of trading, on December 13, 2012, SolarCity closed at $11.79. By late February 2014, the stock hit $76 a share. That's a 544% gain in about six months.
There's no doubt about it. Musk is a visionary genius, and those who invest alongside him make a ton of dough. So what's next?
Space X – The Final Frontier
In 2002, Space X was launched with Elon Musk at the helm.
Much like Tesla and PayPal, this company is offering yet another profitable and disruptive technology. It designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.
But here's the catch: The company is the only private company to ever return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, and it's the only private company to attach to the International Space Station, exchange cargo payloads, and return safely to Earth.
In other words, these are reusable rockets!
The company initially landed a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly at least 10 cargo resupply missions for the space station. In the future, Space X will also carry personnel crews.
Space X is profitable and cash flow positive. It has close to 50 launches on its manifest, which represents nearly $5 billion in contracts. Everything from commercial satellite launches to NASA missions.
So will Space X ever go public?
While I wouldn't hesitate to take a ride on that one, Elon Musk has stated that he has no near term plans to launch a Space X IPO. Here are a few tweets from Musk in response to an IPO:
Mars requires developing complex technology over a decade+, but market cares about next three months. Result would be conflicting priorities.
- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2013: Easier said than done. There is a lot of pressure from investors. It is hard not to feel super bad if u don't make ur qtr.
- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2013: Yes. Also don't want pressure on the team to do a launch in time for qtr end and maybe miss something. Passing grade for a rocket is 100%.
- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2013: While it seems that most CEOs these days would be more concerned about making a quick buck, Musk is focused on creating long-term, sustainable investment opportunities. Another reason he and his investors have been so successful.
It made headlines in August, 2013, as both investors and tech junkies supplied an enormous amount of enthusiasm over Elon Musk's latest venture, the Hyperloop.
Known to most as a futuristic transportation system that can take you from New York to California in just 45 minutes, many of us waited impatiently on that Monday afternoon to hear more about this project.
According to Musk, this method of transportation, known as the Hyperloop, would be immune to weather, would never crash, and would be twice as fast as an airplane. It would require less energy and would be cheaper than driving a car.
Musk claims the Hyperloop would cost around $6 billion, which is considerably cheap considering the bullet train being proposed in California would run at around $60 billion. Not to mention, the Hyperloop would run up to four times as fast as the bullet train.
And while this may sound like a pipe dream, betting against Elon Musk and his ambitious projects can hardly be considered a good idea. When looking at the success of PayPal, SolarCity, SpaceX, and Tesla, it is difficult to deny that if Musk wants something done, he is almost certainly going to see it through.
Elon Musk describes the system as a cross between a Concorde, a rail-gun, and an air hockey table. And while the idea of a Hyperloop IPO is unlikely (considering the open source nature of the project), one of Musk's other companies could benefit.
You see, when Musk discusses the Hyperloop, he notes that the system would be powered by solar panels, and even goes so far to say that the system could actually produce more power than it uses. Brilliant!
And here's the best part: If it's solar Musk needs for his Hyperloop, who do you think he's going to call?
His cousins at SolarCity, of course.
Musk has gone on record saying that when entering business partnerships, it's more important to have a good relationship than it is to save a few dollars. Well, what better relationship than a family relationship?
Remember, not only is Musk a major shareholder and chairman of SolarCity, he's also related to the guys that run it. This ain't rocket science, folks.
So yes, this could be a big deal for SolarCity. And as more news comes in on the development of the Hyperloop, we'll have a better understanding as to what role SolarCity will or won't play.
In any event, no matter how you slice it, one of the best indicators of coming profits is Elon Musk. And to ignore any investment in which he takes part would be to ignore an opportunity to make a boatload of cash.