Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed that cash flow problems pushed his tech behemoth Tesla “within weeks” of certain death — and that he worked 22-hour days to help stave off disaster.
In July 2018, shares in the listed maker of cars and solar panels plunged after it was revealed that it was suffering from cash flow problems, a problem usually associated with small businesses.
But in an interview this week with US-based Axios on HBO, Mr Musk (pictured) revealed just how severe those cash flow problems had been, pushing the business to the brink of collapse.
“Tesla really faced a severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production round,” the billionaire founder revealed in the interview.
“Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy, and if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die, and it was extremely difficult to solve them.”
Asked how close the company was from death, Mr Musk replied: “Within single-digit weeks”.
During the interview, Mr Musk revealed that he was working up to 22 hours each day, seven days a week across every facet of the business, just to keep things afloat and make sure the new car model made it to market.
“I was working… seven days a week, sleeping in the factory. I worked everything… I worked in the paint shop, general assembly, body shop…”
Mr Musk was also asked if he worried about himself and his own wellbeing during this period, to which he replied “absolutely”.
“No one should be put this many hours into work. This is not good; people should not work this hard, they should not do this. It was very painful,” the entrepreneur said.
“It hurts my brain and my heart.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.