A Very Boring Startup
Dec 6th, 2019
The Boring Company is one of the side ventures of real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk. Musk, who co-founded Tesla and founded SpaceX, came up with the idea for The Boring Company while sitting in LA's unbearable traffic one day.
"Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging...," Musk tweeted in December 2016. He elaborated in follow-up tweets saying "I am actually going to do this" and "It shall be called 'The Boring Company'."
Just a few months later, in February 2017, The Boring Company had already begun digging a 30-foot-wide, 50-foot-long and 15-foot-deep "test trench" at SpaceX's headquarters in its quest to revolutionize the way people get around cities. At a TED Talk in April 2017, Musk estimated The Boring Company took 2–3% of his time and was a "personal hobby."
So where does The Boring Company currently stand in terms of actually building tunnels? The company's website shows five projects, with only one of them completed - the test tunnel in Hawthorne, CA. The test tunnel cost $10 million to build and "Due to unbelievably high demand, tours through the Hawthorne Test Tunnel are by invitation only."
Of the remaining four, only one is under construction. The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop in Las Vegas is being built to reduce travel time around the campus to a 1 minute ride from a 15 minute walk. The website even shows a highly optimistic plan in which the tunnel could be extended through literally the entire Las Vegas strip.
The remaining three projects are in the review and planning stages. Whether they ever begin construction is anyone's guess, however, the projects are planned for Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.
So who owns The Boring Company and who's funding it? Initially, it was a subsidiary of SpaceX, becoming a fully independent company in 2018. In its first few years, the company had been hesitant to raise outside capital, except of course through the sale of 20,000 $500 "not a flamethrower" flamethrowers.
As of December 2018, 90% of The Boring Company was owned by Musk with 6% owned by SpaceX in exchange for using SpaceX resources. During 2018, The Boring Company raised $113 million in non-outside capital, with more than 90% of it coming from Musk. This past July, the company raised outside capital for the first time, selling $120 million in stock at a valuation of $920 million to a handful of venture capital firms.
So while it's anyone's guess what the future holds for The Boring Company, especially with Musk at the helm, one thing is almost certain - investing in it will be both polarizing and extremely entertaining, just like Tesla.
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