On the Eve of an IPO, Tesla Founder Elon Musk Claims He's Broke
Musk, who co-founded PayPal and cashed out for $200 million, says he invested his last $35 million in Tesla Motors -- just as the company prepares to go public.
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Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, an environmental business pioneer, and the model for Iron Man's Tony Stark, is considered one of the biggest entrepreneurial success stories of the past decade. And now, he's apparently broke.
Only eight years ago, Musk was one of three co-founders to sell PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion, making $200 million in cash off the sale of his stocks. Musk says, like many entrepreneurs, he has since invested all his money in his businesses -- which include electric car company Tesla Motors, space exploration technology company SpaceX, and full-service solar provider SolarCity -- and has been borrowing money from friends to keep afloat. "About four months ago, I ran out of cash," he wrote in a divorce court filing this February. He recently told The New York Times he invested the last $35 million he had into Tesla.
As part of his divorce proceedings, Musk reported he had just $8,255 in monthly income and $650,000 in liquid assets, with $200,000 per month in expenses.
Some may speculate whether the public admission is connected to the fact that his ex-wife was asking for the house, alimony, child support, $6 million, a cut of Tesla and stock in SpaceX -- or if Musk is truly broke. But it's not a classic riches-to-rags story just yet: SpaceX has a contract with NASA worth $1.6 billion, and with Tesla's IPO rumored to take place next week, the Times reports that if all goes well, Musk could walk away with $21 million and still own 65 percent.