SolarCity Shares Shine in Debut

Shares of SolarCity Corp jumped more than 50 percent during their market debut on Thursday, approaching the valuation the solar power company had sought before it was forced to slash its IPO price.

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Tesla’s IPO is Go-Go Despite Red Flags

Silicon Valley wants Tesla Motors to succeed for numerous reasons, including the lackluster IPO market of late and its potential to turn electric cars into the next, lucrative emerging technology. The country wants Tesla Motors to succeed, too. After all, the last U.S. car company to hold an IPO was Ford, in 1956. Yet in […]

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Elon Musk on Why His Rockets Are Faster, Cheaper and Lighter Than What You’ve Seen Before

On Wednesday, I was on a call with Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla Motors and space exploration company SpaceX. The latter company was announcing what it’s hailing as the “largest single commercial launch deal ever” — a $492 million contract to carry into space the mobile telecommunications satellites of Iridium Communications, beginning in 2015. Though […]

Elon Musk Weighs in On WSJ Piece, and Future of SpaceX

If you’ve been reading over the past day, you know that I yesterday wrote a piece wondering if the reportedly stretched finances of entrepreneur Elon Musk are of interest not only to Tesla Motors, the pre-IPO electric car company where he is CEO, but also of the space exploration company SpaceX, which Musk founded and where he is both CEO and CTO. (Musk, who made his fortune as a PayPal cofounder, has since invested all of his liquid assets in both companies.)

My interest was piqued after reading a WSJ piece reporting that SpaceX “needs a cash infusion of more than $1 billion in the next year or two to reach its goal of transporting astronauts to the international space station later this decade.” The story went on to suggest that, given the Obama administration’s plans to turn space travel over to private companies, “U.S. taxpayers are the most likely source of future assistance.”

SpaceX board member (and fellow PayPal cofounder) Luke Nosek, told me today that Musk’s personal financial picture is irrelevant. The reason, he said, is that SpaceX is expected to be profitable this year, as it has been for the past several years, owing to some very rich contracts. One is with Loral Space & Communications. A much bigger contract, valued at $1.6 billion, is with NASA, which is counting on SpaceX, as well as one of its competitor, Orbital Sciences, to transport cargo to the International Space Station once it retires its last shuttle in November.

Tonight, Musk writes in with some more data points that are worth publishing.

SpaceX Launches a Rocket, But Can It Fly Without Elon Musk’s Many Millions?

Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal published a compelling story about SpaceX, the space exploration company that hyperentrepreneur Elon Musk is running concurrently with Tesla Motors and that successfully launched a rocket — called the Falcon 9 — into a 155-mile orbit last Friday.

The piece provides a detailed overview of SpaceX’s past woes as evidence that privatizing space travel is a risky proposition, but it doesn’t ask a key question: whether SpaceX can continue competing for the U.S. government’s business in light of Musk’s stretched personal finances.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Musk confirmed to VentureBeat that he has been living off the fast-dwindling personal loans of friends. The admission came after Musk revealed — in a February court filing relating to his divorce from science fiction novelist Justine Musk — that he ran out of his own money last November.

Tesla: Musk’s Divorce Will Not Affect Us

(Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Motors said on Wednesday it does not expect the contentious divorce of its chief executive, Elon Musk, to affect its plans to list its shares and does not rely on him to provide further funding. The California start-up, in a filing with U.S. securities regulators, sought to distance itself from […]

Elon Musk’s Tesla Stake on Table in Divorce Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Justine Musk says she wants a pricey Tesla Roadster, 10 percent of her husband’s stake in the carmaker and the odd $6 million. “I really, really want one,” she said on a blog she posted on May 8 about the $109,000 Roadster, which is capable of accelerating faster than a Ferrari. […]

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Tesla CEO Took Private Jet to Washington D.C.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has flown his private jet to Washington at least 12 times since the beginning of last year—just months after Congress chastised the CEOs of GM, Chrysler and Ford for flying private jets to request public financing.

FAA records collected by FlightAware.com show that Musk’s jet, a Dassault Falcon 900, touched down in Washington June 15, 2009 – one week before the electric car maker won a guaranteed $465 million loan from the Department of Energy. Two weeks before that, Tesla began paying for the jet’s operating expenses. This worked out to $175,000 in costs for the final six months of 2009, according to a recent registration statement with the SEC (Tesla is planning to raise $100 million via an IPO).

Since Tesla started paying for Musk’s work-related flights, the CEO’s plane went to Washington four more times, touching down on June 15, Sept. 7, Sept. 27, Nov. 4 and once since the new year began, records show.

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