What You Need To Know About Elon Musk's Brother Kimbal

Elon Musk can't stop making headlines. From countless controversies to the secret behind how he makes his money — and how he loses it (he lost $50 million in two days in November 2021) — to his family life, nothing seems to be off limits. The latter has been of particular interest as the CEO welcomed an adorable son with Grimes just months before the pair broke things off in September 2021. But Elon isn't the only famous member of the Musk family. 

First, there's his mom, Maye Musk, who's a celebrity in her own right. In addition to launching a modeling career in her teens, she earned two master of science degrees and worked as a dietician, per Vanity Fair, without ever leaving fashion behind. In fact, she's still making headlines these days as a 73-year-old model

Then there's Elon's younger sister, Tosca Musk, who's been a successful film producer for over two decades, per IMDb, and has also directed and written a number of movies. Her specialty has been turning romance novels into movies and series, and she even founded Passionflix, a streaming service that offers "exclusive original content based on best-selling romance novels." That entrepreneurial spirit also extends to Elon's brother, Kimbal, who's made millions by following his own passions. Here's what you need to know about Elon Musk's younger brother.

How Kimbal Musk made his first millions

Kimbal Musk may call himself a "food entrepreneur" on Instagram, but his connection to Silicon Valley runs deep. In fact, his brotherly collaboration with Elon Musk can be traced back to the '90s. Per CNBC, the pair first teamed up to create Zip2, a software that helped newspapers curate "online city guides," in 1995. Jump to 1999, and they sold the company to Compaq Computer Corp. for $300 million cash, according to The Wall Street Journal. Earning their first millions wasn't easy, but they relied on each other to make it. As Elon recalled during a 2014 commencement speech at USC, "When my brother and I were starting our first company, instead of getting an apartment, we just rented a small office and we slept on the couch." What's more, they "showered at the YMCA and we were so hard-up, we had just one computer, so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night, seven days a week."

Following the sale of Zip2, the brothers stuck together, and, according to The New York Times, while Kimbal began pursuing his food-centric dreams, he still became an investor in Elon's follow-up company, PayPal, which sold to eBay in 2002 for a whopping $1.5 billion, per CNET. Not surprisingly, when Elon started Tesla and SpaceX in 2003, Kimbal was right there with him, and he sits on the boards of both companies to this day.

Kimbal Musk would lie to help his brother succeed

The concept of "Elon time" has been a widely talked about topic, especially when it comes to Tesla and its (in)ability to meet the ideal deadlines and delivery dates set by Elon Musk. The Tesla Model 3 in particular has been plagued by delays stretching back to 2017 and running right up to 2021. It started with production setbacks which, in 2018, evolved into "delivery logistics hell," and, as Elon told shareholders, the problem was exacerbated by the fact that he's "a naturally optimistic person." Advising them to take his timelines with a grain of salt, he admitted, per The Washington Post, "I'd probably put some sandbag on future dates; that's probably wise."

The problem really came to a head when shareholders voted on whether or not to oust Elon as chairman in 2018. In the end, they kept him, which made him emotional and forced him to admit, "I think I do have, like, an issue with time," per The Washington Post. As it turns out, the outlet discovered that issue runs back to his childhood when Kimbal Musk would have to lie to help ensure that his brother, who was notoriously late, would make the school bus. His trick? Telling Elon a fictitious arrival time for the bus, which was always "several minutes" earlier than the actual pickup time. When a fan tweeted out a screenshot of said revelation, Elon responded with a one-word tweet: "True."

He's a chef on a mission to feed America

Kimbal Musk has strong ties to tech, but his heart is with food. As The New York Times noted in a 2017 profile, his goal is ​​"to do for food what his brother has done for electric cars and space travel." Indeed, he compared the food industry to what the Internet was like in the '90s, saying, "We've never seen this kind of innovation around food." Noting that "you couldn't design a worse food system than what we have," he shared his master plan is to create "a network of business, educational and agricultural ventures" that'll spread healthy, sustainable "real food" around the country. Speaking with CNBC that same year, he reiterated how "industrial food has totally failed America" and how, "the more I dig in, the more I get passionate about being part of solving that."

Kimbal's dedication to food runs deep. He started cooking when he was 12, per The New York Times, and after selling Zip2, he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Following 9/11, he spent six weeks cooking for firefighters and volunteers, which inspired him to open his first restaurant, The Kitchen, in 2004. "I'd been cooking as a hobby, I now wanted to make it my career," he told FSR magazine. But it was a tubing accident, which broke his neck and temporarily paralyzed him, that convinced him to "work on food culture" full-time. As he told The Guardian, "The traditional restaurant is more commercial-oriented, but I want community through food."

He wants to 'disrupt' casual dining

Kimbal Musk opened his first restaurant, The Kitchen, an upscale farm-to-table bistro in Colorado, in 2004 and followed that in 2011 with a chain of "hyper-local restaurants" called Next Door. While both focus on fresh food, the latter is all about affordable prices and accessibility, and, as Kimbal told CNBC, he had to get creative to make it a reality. "We buy the whole cow, and we're able to do the prime cuts [that] go to The Kitchen; the burger will go to Next Door," he explained. That, in turn, allows him to serve a high-quality burger for $8.95, which is "an extraordinarily low price."

Speaking with FSR magazine, which dubbed him "the man who will disrupt casual dining," Kimbal opened up about why it's so important to him to do that through Next Door where the average meal (with an alcoholic drink) costs $16 and wait times average five minutes. "I want to make a real difference in food — and that particular difference is bringing healthy, nutritious, delicious, real food across America," he explained. Noting how fast food, which he calls "industrial food," has resulted in high rates of "obesity and diabetes," he proclaimed, "Restaurant groups or food businesses that still believe industrial food is the future [...] are already dead." He concluded that while The Kitchen supports local farmers, Next Door has a "simple, delicious, consistent menu that supports affordable pricing."

Kimbal Musk's spearheading a gardening movement

Kimbal Musk is also committed to food education as the co-founder of Big Green, which "offers Learning Garden curriculum options" to schools with the goal of teaching kids "food literacy" and spreading "real food education." As he told FSR magazine, "We want kids from elementary to high school to have a connection with real food, to understand what real food is all about — that it comes out of the ground, it tastes good, it's nutritious." He also noted how "it's important to trust your food, and you can trust food you've grown yourself." By 2017, Big Green had opened 425 gardens and was teaching 250,000 students and counting.

What's more, Kimbal is also the co-founder of Square Roots, "an indoor urban farming company connecting people in cities to local, real food," as well as the Million Gardens Movement, which is "dedicated to mobilizing a million people to grow their own food and reap the benefits of gardening." The latter has a simple mission: to show folks that everyone can garden, regardless of how much (or how little) space they have. Anyone can sign up to receive "helpful hints and tips" to set up their first garden, and Kimbal is also encouraging everyone to donate to provide gardening kits to those in need and help combat food insecurity and banish food deserts.

Kimbal Musk's net worth

Kimbal Musk may not have the staggering net worth of brother Elon Musk, but he's still reportedly worth $500 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. That number may be even higher, as Forbes "conservatively estimates" it clocks in closer to $700 million — much of it coming from Tesla. In addition to sitting on the company's board of directors, Kimbal has made bank by investing in it (he currently holds a 0.04% equity stake) and playing around with its stock. In February 2021, he sold 30,000 shares for about $25.6 million, per CNBC, and in November 2021, he offloaded 88,500 shares for $109 million, per Los Angeles Times. He also holds impressive stock options, which he monetized in April 2021 to earn $7.22 million in one day, per MarketWatch. That's when Kimbal used his stock options to buy 12,000 Tesla shares for $74.17 each, then immediately sold them at prices between $660.113 and $691.35 each.

Adding to Kimbal's net worth is $2 million in Chipotle stock (he was on its board of directors from 2013 to 2019, per CNBC) and real estate in the swanky Mapleton Hill neighborhood of Boulder, Colorado, where home prices range from $2 million to $7 million, per Mansion Global. Last but not least, he took out a loan against all 599,740 of his Tesla shares in July 2021, raising millions without having to pay any capital gains taxes. It's a tactic his brother has used often.

Efforts to evict Kimbal Musk from Tesla's board of directors

Kimbal Musk has sat on Tesla's board of directors since its founding, but in September 2021, shareholders were advised by Institutional Shareholder Services to not re-elect him, per Bloomberg. They argued that he should be ousted "due to concerns regarding excessive compensation," as he reportedly received "outlier levels of pay without a compelling rationale." According to Business Insider, Musk received $20,000 for serving on the board in 2020, and on October 7, 2021, investors cast their votes. In the end, he was re-elected for another three years, with 473.5M votes to keep him and just 117.3M to dump him.

That wasn't the first time shareholders were urged to get rid of the founder's brother. Back in 2018, CtW Investment Group sent a letter to shareholders advising them to "join us in Voting No on the re-election" of Musk and two other members, arguing that, following numerous delays, "instead of recognizing the need for independent and effective board leadership, Tesla has re-nominated three directors who exemplify the company's failure to evolve." They also underscored the fact that Musk "has no professional experience in the auto industry, and has proven ineffective as a public company director at Chipotle."

Kimbal Musk's personal life

Kimbal Musk has managed to keep much of his personal life personal, but he confirmed to Forbes that he was once married to sculptor Jen Lewin (who designed the Learning Gardens for Big Green) and that they have three kids, named Luca, Stella, and August, per Celebrity Mirror. Following their split, Kimbal tied the knot with Christiana Wyly, daughter of Texas billionaire Sam Wyly, in April 2018. According to Dallas Culture Map, she's a "longtime environmental activist" and a founding partner of Green Mountain Energy, a 100% renewable energy company she started with her dad. In 2010, NRG Energy, Inc. bought the company for $350 million, and, as Wyly enthused in a HuffPost op-ed, it was "an important step toward the realization of a childhood dream" as it proved that "renewable energy is alive, well, and profitable!" It's easy to imagine that she and Kimbal bonded over a shared passion for giving back and doing everything possible to save the planet.

Jump to July 2018, and they had a second wedding in Spain, per MailOnline, which is when Wyly confirmed they actually "eloped just the two of us for a spiritual wedding in the desert" a year earlier in August 2017. In 2021, Kimbal showed off their strong bond on Twitter when he celebrated his wife's birthday with a sweet message, calling her "a true gift" and writing, "Thank you for being a shining light of love and laughter. You make my heart sing now and forever."