What Is Elon Musk Up to With His Secretive Startup Neuralink?

The company may or may not have just raised a ton of money.

Wait But Why

Of all of Elon Musk’s public projects, Neuralink is the most mysterious. This year, we’ve learned that the startup is working on a brain implant that would let us interface with machines, but that’s about it. There are no electric cars, no rockets, not even a tunneling machine slowly racing a pet snail. And now even an official government filing can’t make clear what kind of money the company is taking in.

A Friday report in The Wall Street Journal flagged a recent filing Neuralink had made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the company reported it had sold nearly $27 million from a potential $100 million offering. The document states that a total of 12 investors were involved in the sale.

That seems straightforward enough, with little to take away there beyond the fact that Neuralink has taken in some money. But Musk took to Twitter to deny the reports. A poop emoji was involved.

So, that’s clear as mud. Musk makes a point of choosing his words very carefully, so it’s at least conceivable the verb tenses matter: Neuralink took in the $27 million, and it is now seeking no further investors. That kind of extreme hair-splitting isn’t impossible, but it’s also possible the SEC filing just represents some internal financial maneuvering, with the money coming from Musk or those close to him — though why half of the 12 investors are listed on the SEC filing as unaccredited is an open question.

Basically, we don’t know, and Musk’s combativeness with the Wall Street Journal — which earned his ire by breaking the news of Neuralink’s existence before its official announcement — has made this a bigger story than it otherwise would be. After all, there’s little doubt Musk can raise $100 million or more for the company if he wants, whether by footing the bill himself or bringing in outside investors. The Twitter exchange may just be a reminder that, as far as Musk is concerned, anything to do with Neuralink happens on his schedule, and not a moment before.

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