What do Elon Musk’s 4 companies actually do? The world’s richest man just bought Twitter for US$44 billion – finally – but he also owns Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company

Elon Musk just bought Twitter – finally – but what other companies does he own? Photo: DPA

Elon Musk now owns Twitter, making it the fifth company led by the world’s richest man.

Twitter and Musk formally closed on the billionaire’s deal to take the company private on Thursday, October 27.

Elon Musk plans to begin lay-offs at Twitter Inc. as early as October 29, after completing his acquisition of the social media platform. Photo: Los Angeles Times/TNS
The US$44 billion deal follows a months-long legal battle between the social media company and Musk, who attempted backing out of the deal over claims regarding the number of inauthentic accounts on the app.

“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square,” Musk wrote in a letter addressed to Twitter advertisers, which he tweeted Thursday.

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Elon Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion on October 27. Photo: Reuters
The tech mogul now must divide his attention between five companies spanning transport, neuroscience and social media. Musk runs Tesla and SpaceX alongside two smaller start-ups, Neuralink and The Boring Company.

From building rockets and brain chips to digging tunnels, here’s what all of Musk’s companies do.

1. Tesla

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y programme in Shanghai, China, in January 2020. Photo: Reuters

Musk is best known as the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, which he helped start in 2003. The carmaker has since designed seven electric vehicle models, four of which are currently in production.

Tesla’s headquarters recently relocated from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas. Nearly 100,000 people are employed by Tesla around the world, with over 28,000 new hires in 2021 alone.

A Model 3 sedan sits next to a Model X on display outside a Tesla showroom in Littleton, Colorado, in July 2018. Photo: AP Photo

Tesla is one of six US companies that have reached a US$1 trillion market cap – more than its nine largest competitors combined.

Tesla solar panels on top of a hospital roof in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Reuters

In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, the US’ leading provider of solar panels. Today, Tesla sells four solar energy storage and generation products: Powerwall, Powerpack, Megapack and Solar Roof.

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2. SpaceX

Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition II in Hawthorne, California, US, in August 2017. Photo: Reuters

Next up: SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Musk in 2002.

According to his company bio, Musk is the “lead designer” at SpaceX, where he oversees the spacecraft and rocket development “for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets”.

SpaceX is headquartered in Hawthorne, California. However the company’s launch site, known as “Starbase”, is located in Boca Chica, Texas.

Nasa SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina and Jaxa astronaut Koichi Wakata, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, wave as they depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building for Launch Complex 39A on launch day at the Kennedy Space Center, on October 5. Photo: Planet Pix via Zuma/DPA
SpaceX was privately valued at US$100 billion in October – making it the second most valuable private company in the world behind TikTok owner ByteDance, according to CNBC. As of 2021, it has nearly 10,000 employees.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Crew Dragon capsule lifts off from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 5, for a mission to the International Space Station. Photo: AP Photo

SpaceX also owns the business Starlink, which provides low-orbit satellite internet services designed for rural areas with unreliable internet. The first batch of Starlink satellites were launched in 2019.

3. Neuralink

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk attending a forum on start-ups in Hong Kong, in January 2016. Photo: Reuters

You’ve probably never heard of it, but Musk is also the co-founder of a San Francisco start-up called Neuralink. The company’s mission sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie: to connect the human brain to computers.

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Musk is listed as Neuralink’s CEO on Tesla’s website, but his exact involvement isn’t clear. The company previously stated in legal documents that the billionaire “has no executive or management role at Neuralink”.

One of the pigs being in used in Neuralink’s research. Photo: YouTube
Musk’s right-hand man Jared Birchall was listed as Neuralink’s chief executive, CFO and president in 2018.

Through the development of a brain chip Musk has described as a “FitBit in your skull”, Neuralink aims to treat neurological conditions ranging from paralysis to depression.

The billionaire helped found Neuralink to “help those with brain injuries in the near term and reduce AI risk to humanity in the long term”, according to its website. Last summer, Neuralink raised US$205 million in Series C funding.

Elon Musk presenting Neuralink’s progress update in 2020. Photo: Neuralink/YouTube

The neurotechnology company has 245 employees listed on LinkedIn and is ranked No 33 out of 50 on the site’s 2021 “top start-up” list.

4. The Boring Company

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., speaks during an unveiling event for The Boring Company Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, south of Los Angeles, California, in December 2018. Photo: AFP

Musk is also the founder of The Boring Company, a tunnel construction start-up based in Texas that launched in 2016.

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Musk’s tunnel-digging venture aims to solve traffic within and between major US cities. One of its future projects is a “Hyperloop”, which would theoretically allow passengers to travel at 1,130km (700 miles) per hour. The interior of a Hyperloop tube after the first test of a propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site on May 11, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

A modified Tesla Model X drives into the tunnel entrance before an unveiling event for The Boring Company Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California, US, in December 2018. Photo: Reuters

Beyond Musk’s core business ventures, the billionaire has been tied to at least seven additional companies, per The New York Times. This includes Wyoming Steel, an LLC he has reportedly used to purchase real estate.

This article originally appeared on Insider
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  • The billionaire closed his social media deal after a months-long legal battle, adding his fifth company to his portfolio, claiming a ‘digital town square’ is ‘important to the future of civilisation’
  • He leads Tesla and SpaceX, of course, but how much do you know about start-ups Neuralink and The Boring Company, which aim to treat brain issues using microchips, and improve traffic with tunnels?