Although Elon Musk is one of the richest businessmen in the world, his younger brother Kimbal is a successful entrepreneur in his own right. Kimbal Musk has an estimated net worth of $500 million, just a few billion dollars behind Elon.
Born on September 28, 1972, Kimbal was raised in South Africa and is the second of three children. It appears that the entrepreneur took after his mother who doubled as a model and a nutritionist. While Elon followed the path of his father (Errol Musk) who is a successful engineer, sailor and pilot. There is no doubt business runs in the family, while Elon thinks about space and electric cars, Kimbal is on a mission to revolutionize how Americans eat.
Kimball lived with his family in Pretoria until he moved to Ontario Canada to further his education at Queen’s University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Business. His first entrepreneurial venture was a residential painting business called College Pro Painters in 1995. The business made $50,000 within two years, not bad for your first company. In 1995, he launched Zip2 with Elon and raised $28,000 to fund the startup.
Zip2 was an online city guide that provided website content for newspapers such as the the New York Times. The company was sold to Compaq for $307 million in 1999 and Kimbal netted $15 million from the sale. With a significant amount of money at his disposal Kimbal decided to invest in a couple of young software and technology companies. He was an early investor in his brother’s startup x.com – an online financial services and email payments company. X.com later merged with PayPal and in October 2002 the company was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.
We built Zip2 by sleeping in our office so we didn’t need to pay rent for an apartment. Showered at the YMCA. When investors came to meet with us we’d have to hide all sleeping gear and cooking equipment. Honestly, those were good days. America has been good to us. ❤️🇺🇸🤠 https://t.co/AKkQkBf3Ab
— 𝙺𝚒𝚖𝚋𝚊𝚕 𝙼𝚞𝚜𝚔 (@kimbal) December 28, 2019
Kimbal also invested in more of Elon’s startups and has stakes in Tesla and SpaceX. He currently sits on the boards of both companies. According to Tesla’s financial disclosures Kimbal owns 130 000 shares of Tesla stock, making him a major investor in the company. Kimball has sold at least a $100 million worth of Tesla shares to date. Despite his early investment successes, he wasn’t happy in the tech world and this led him to chase his love of food and cooking.
While Elon stayed in California to pursue the electric car business and space exploration industry, Kimbal moved to New York and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute. After graduating he moved to Colorado and fell in love with the state. Here he met his future business partner Hugo Matheson. Kimbal spotted a problem in the American food industry and decided to tackle it head-on.
In April 2004 Kimbal along with Jen Lewin and Hugo Matheson opened The Kitchen, a community bistro in Boulder Colorado. Between 2009 and 2011 Kimball doubled as the CEO of OneRiot – an advertising network. The business was later acquired by Walmart Labs in September 2011 for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile, alongside Matheson, Kimball expanded the Kitchen to include a non-profit division to help children understand what real food meant by creating learning gardens in schools across the US. By the end of 2015 they built around 260 of these gardens.
In 2011, Next Door American Eatery was added to Kimbal’s portfolio when the restaurant opened in downtown Boulder. As of 2019, Next Door has expanded to 10 locations. In 2016 Musk founded Square Roots, an urban farming company dedicated to growing organic food in shipping containers. The company grows food in hydroponic indoor climate-controlled shipping containers and is rooting around helping the global food crisis. One of the main benefits of these indoor setups is that climate conditions can be controlled to minimize the risk of contamination into the water and the air.
Kimbal has done pretty well for himself from his early days investing in College Pro Painters to his partnership with his brother on Zip2 and then his early investment in several tech companies. Kimbal has grown to become a seasoned entrepreneur. Considering the rate his businesses are growing, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a billionaire!