Elon Musk caught in Twitter dispute over who founded Tesla – and says it was ‘starving to death’ when he stepped in
ELON MUSK has gone on the record to clarify who really ‘founded’ Tesla in a new exchange on Twitter.
On Thursday morning, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the time to reply to one Twitter user’s accusation that he is not the car manufacturer’s founder.
“Elon Musk was not the founder of Tesla. He acquired it. Just reminding :),” Vaibhav Sisinty wrote.
Sisinty’s statement was enough to prompt a response from both Willy Woo, a Bitcoin investor with more than one million followers on Twitter, and the world’s richest man.
“Semantics. He invested in a glorified kit set car manufacturer with unworkable tech. He fired the founder before the company died,” Woo wrote, swiftly coming to Musk’s defense.
“Then he changed the business model, raised significant money, forged new technology, and created a wholly new industry. That is what founders do,” the investor continued.
Elon then explained the situation further, calling Tesla a ‘shell corp’ at the time, which is a company that exists only on paper and has no office or employees.
Tesla had “no IP, no designs, no prototype, literally nothing but a biz plan to commercialize AC Propulsion’s Tzero car, which was introduced to me by JB Straubel, *not* Eberhard,” the SpaceX CEO continued.
“Even the name ‘Tesla Motors’ was owned by others.”
In a separate tweet, Musk noted that if the only requirement to be a company’s founder is to file for a shell corporation then he would be the sole founder of PayPal, “but that’s not what founding means.”
“When [Martin] Eberhard was fired unanimously by the board in July 2007 (for damn good reasons), no one left with him. That says it all,” Musk stated.
“I put in all I had, whereas Eberhard, who was worth over $10M at the time, refused to invest a penny to help Tesla. If it was really his baby, he would never have stood by while it starved to death.”
One Twitter user subsequently asked if the billionaire would write a book on the history of Tesla, to which Musk replied “I should, but that would take a lot of time away from Tesla, SpaceX & other work.”
He then revealed that American author and journalist Walter Isaacson is writing a book on the topic – Isaacson has previously published biographies on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Twitter dispute concluded with a fan account asking the CEO if he would sit down with the Tesla Owners Club in Silicon Valley to “chat more in detail about the specifics of the early days of Tesla.”
Elon politely addressed the request, saying “ok sure.”
Musk became the largest shareholder of Tesla in February 2004, after he invested about $6.5 million into the company.
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