• Elon Musk is worth $169.1 billion as of 2021
  • His mother revealed it was not always smooth sailing for their family
  • Musk is behind companies SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company

Elon Musk continues to make heads turn due to his unique ideas that disrupt the business landscape. However, it was not always smooth sailing for the billionaire who found himself jumping from South Africa to Canada and finally to the U.S. to make his dreams come true.

Elon Musk's net worth is now valued at $169 billion and many question how the Tesla CEO made his fortune. Some say he was born into a wealthy family and his success was the result of his priveleged upbringing.

However, Elon’s mother, Maye, was quick to deny these claims. In a series of tweets in 2019, she recounted how they lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Toronto after moving from South Africa.

“We removed the peeling green velvet wallpaper and had a really low quote to paint the walls white,” said Maye, remembering how they renovated their small Toronto home to make it liveable.

“We lived at 4000 Yonge St. Over the holidays, my nephew reminded me that he, Elon and Kimbal took turns sleeping on the bed, couch and carpet,” she added.

Another claim that particularly irked Elon was that his father, Errol Musk, owned an emerald mine and he funded his son's ideas.

“This is a pretty awful lie,” Musk tweeted on December 2019. He clarified that his father did not own an emerald mine and that he struggled for much of his college days and early professional career.

"I worked my way through college, ending up ~$100k in student debt. I couldn’t even afford a 2nd PC at Zip2, so programmed at night & website only worked during day. Where is this bs coming from?"

Musk first made waves after he founded the city guide software firm, Zip2, soon after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. He started running the company with just $2,000 plus some contributions from his brother Kimbal and friend Greg Kouri, noted CNBC

In 1999, Zip2 was acquired by Compaq in a deal worth about $300 million. Musk did not stop at just a single triumph. His then founded an online financial services firm called In 2000, Confinity merged with and later became PayPal. In 2002, online auction site eBay bought the company for $1.5 billion.

Musk continued breaking norms with his businesses. He formed SpaceX, an aerospace transport firm, in May 2002. The company is now valued at $74 billion. Electric car manufacturer Tesla was formed a year later in 2003, with Musk serving as CEO since 2008. Musk was also behind the founding of Neuralink and The Boring Company in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, is pictured here. Photo: POOL / Britta Pedersen