A candid interview with Tesla CEO Elon Musk

It's 'unlikely' Tesla will have to raise additional money before the 2012 release of the Model S

Entrepreneur interview by Bambi Francisco Roizen
August 11, 2010 | Comments (6)
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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, was born in South Africa. At 12 years old, he sold his first commercial software he programmed. He went on to make his fortune during the Internet boom years, making just under $200 million with PayPal and over $20 million with Zip2. Now, at 39-years-old, Elon is building rockets and electric cars as the CEO and co-founder of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX. His dream is to making in living in Mars – a reality, an quite possibly an affordable during his lifetime.

Here’s my interview with Elon, one of today’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.

Among the topics we discussed - whether Tesla - which raised $260 million from its June IPO, $465 million in federal loans and a couple hundred million in private funding - would need to raise additional funds to get the Model S out into the market (it's expected in 2012). "It’s very unlikely we’ll have to raise additional money for the Model S... It’s possible that we could decide [to raise more funds] in order to fund other projects beyond Model S or if investors want liquidity."

Additionally, Musk talks about what he was like when he was young and how were his ambitions and drive manifested. Apparently, he was making gun powder by mixing saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal before he was 10.  He also gives a detailed account of the origins of Tesla Motors, and the other men who helped him make it a reality.

Be sure to check in for the next segments of our interview, in which Musk talks about SpaceX and lessons he's learned about entrepreneurship.



John Boyd, on August 12, 2010

Great interview. Model S is a great looking car. Looking forward to see them on the road. Have to admire anyone building a car company during these times. Great drive. Hope the cousins are proud.

Danny McGowan
Danny McGowan, on August 13, 2010

"$200,000 million" is alot of money = thats 2 trillion. :) The frame work for the mass market is a been there done that (EV1). The electric car drama is fun to watch.

Jeremy Campbell
Jeremy Campbell, on August 13, 2010

This is one of the biggest interviews I've seen you do on Vator Bambi. I love how with each of his venture's he is thinking bigger and bolder. He has all the money he needs so he can now try to hit a real home run which could potentially change the automobile industry forever. I hope to be driving a Tesla within the next five years because clearly Elon wants to deliver a premium product at an affordable price. And come on, the car designs are eye candy!

Bambi Francisco Roizen, on August 14, 2010

Thanks, Jeremy. I personally enjoyed the comments about how his ambition and drive were manifested and cultivated when he was young.

Emile K, on August 14, 2010

Great interview Bambi! I think that Tesla Motors will never have problems raising additional funds, but we won't see positive cash flow for a while. Hopefully government and other car manufacturers will continue supporting this company.

Chandler Day, on May 26, 2011

I just joined vator and its good to know more of the man and the qualities and traits that he had when he was a child.

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