- With the debut of its Model 3 car last month and shares of its stock rocketing up by nearly 70 percent in 2017, Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk are enjoying a major hot streak.
But it wasn’t always this sunny for Musk. As Tesla prepared to start production on Model S — the $70,000 (minimum) electric car that would transform the company — it was running dangerously low on cash. Musk told friend and prominent Silicon Valley angel investor Jason Calacanis the car would cost about $50,000 while out at dinner, and Calacanis promptly cut a check for $100,000 (for two cars).
In an interview with TheWrap, Calacanis said it had more to do with the man behind the electric car than the electric car itself.
“I was literally not betting on Tesla, I was betting on Elon,” said Calacanis. “Anybody that bets against Elon Musk is betting against the future of humanity.”
Calacanis wound up getting Model S serial number 00001 — along with serial number 00073 — for his faith. It was a calculated investment in a career full of them. Calacanis has invested in a handful of “unicorns,” or companies with a $1 billion valuation, including Uber, Robinhood and Thumbtack.
While discussing his new book, “Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups,” Calacanis outlined to TheWrap why it’d be foolish to underestimate the real life Tony Stark.
“You’re literally taking a bet that burning oil, and destroying the environment and ripping fossil fuels and polluting the environment is a better model than using the sun’s energy and having clean air,” said Calacanis.
“If you want to bet against that in the age of millennials, who make purchasing decisions based upon morality and ethics, you are going to get hit by a train.”
The “This Week in Startups” podcast host doubled-down on the claim, saying Wall Street traders who “short” (bet against) Tesla’s stock are financially suicidal.
“These idiots who short Tesla stock are jumping in front of a Maglev train,” said Calacanis. “They’re jumping in front of a 200-miles-per-hour train.”
Coming from someone who turned $100,000 into $100,000,000 investing in startups, it carries a little extra weight.