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How Tesla and Elon Musk became household names

Elon Musk
Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg | Getty Images

The origin stories of successful tech moguls and their companies have become modern American folklore. We know that Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft and that Steve Jobs co-founded Apple out of his garage.

To some, it may seem like Elon Musk and Tesla arrived out of thin air, but nothing could be further from the truth. Tesla's 15-year history was full dramatic of twists and turns.

Tesla was originally conceived in 2003 by Silicon Valley engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. In 2004, Musk led a $7.5 million Series A funding round and became the controlling investor and chairman of the company's board of directors.

In 2007, Tesla faltered. After three CEOs failed to last more than a year at the car company, Musk stepped up to take over the role in 2008. "It just made sense for me to have both hands on the wheel," he said at the time.

This infographic, created by Global Energy Metals as a part of Visual Capitalist's Rise of Tesla Series, illustrates the tumultuous Tesla story from start to present.

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