Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk, along with Greg Kouri founded Zip2 in 1995. This was a Global Link Information Network that was relatively successful for its time. Yet what they did was not exactly revolutionary, they simply had the right connections and opportunities to grow Zip2 properly. A few “angel investors” helped the company initially. It was claimed that Errol Musk (Elon and Kimbal’s father), put up around 10% of the money which equates to around $200,000. What Musk and crew initially managed to do was work with local businesses with an internet presence by linking their services to searchers and then providing directions.
This was a useful service for California-based companies that eventually led to Zip2 finding success outside the state too. Yet Musk did not write some revolutionary code or make some crazy complex software to do this. Rather, Musk used the free Navteq database (a geographic information system) along with the Palo Alto business database to create Zip2’s first system. This is like putting two toys together, painting them, then passing the toy off as something brand new. It isn’t, and the systems Musk had to use were written by other people first. Without these, Zip2 never would have done anything noteworthy at all.