Tesla was founded in 2003 and Elon became the chairman and contributed over $30 Million in 2004. They introduced their first car “Roadster” in 2006
Fast forward to 2008, Elon had already sunk over $70 Million on Tesla. He owned no house and borrowed money for rent 🙌
Realizing that Tesla will soon run out of money, In Oct ’08, He travelled to Germany.
He met Dr. Webber – DAIMLER’s Head of R&D and asked him “How can we help in the electric car front?”
He said, “We want to make an electric smart car but they don’t have any good source for battery” Tesla had already put in over 3 years and said that sounds like something we can help.
Daimler’s team was planning to visit Silicon Valley and meet with a bunch of companies in January ’09 and Elon invited them to visit the Tesla factory.
The very next moment Elon called JB Straubel (Tesla’s CTO) and said “WE NEED TO MAKE AN ELECTRIC SMART CAR IN 3 MONTHS”
There was just one problem: There was no Daimler’s Smart car in the US.
JB and the team found one in Mexico. The next day, they sent an engineer with $20,000 cash and drove it all the way back to San Carlos.
They tore down the entire propulsion system and started designing a custom battery pack. The roadster’s battery pack was too big.
Tesla’s team didn’t sleep much for the next couple of months. They worked through the holidays. They added the roadster’s engine & An one-off battery pack They knew this will be the fastest smart car
Jan 2009 was here and Daimler’s Team had arrived. They were not that excited. Some American car startup. Whatever you know.
Elon said, “Why don’t we skip the PowerPoint & take a test drive?”
Daimler’s Team: “What do you mean?”
They were not expecting what was coming next.
Elon took them to the garage and they test drove the insane performance electric smart car.
Daimler’s team went nuts. They were like, “HOLY COW, THIS IS AWESOME”
Daimler bought 10% of Tesla’s Equity for $50 Million. This saved Tesla from Bankruptcy.
Today, Tesla is the most valuable car company with an $830+ Billion valuation
Elon musk is the richest person in the world with $214 Billion.
Meanwhile, Daimler sold their 10% stake in 2014 for $780 million If they had gone diamond hands 💎🙌 on Tesla, it would have been worth over $50B 🚀
Someone should have asked them to HODL :))
This story was told by Elon & JB Straubel in the 2016 Tesla Shareholders Meeting. Tesla deleted all the videos and blogs of the meeting on the internet.
But my guy Michael with 74 subs uploaded the video 4 years later. Thanks, Michael.
If you like interesting stories like this, let me know in the comments or DMs.