Elon Musk

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin may have called Elon Musk's company a "loser" earlier this month, but Time magazine – not to mention Virgin Group chief Richard Branson – begs to differ.

Musk, the Tesla Motors chief, made Time's list of the world's 100 most influential people, and it is Branson, who also founded the Virgin Galactic space-exploration company, is feting Musk for his leadership of SpaceX. "His Tesla Motors and SolarCity companies are making a clean, renewable-energy future a reality," Branson writes in Time. "It's a paradox that Elon is working to improve our planet at the same time he's building spacecraft to help us leave it."

Earlier this month, Tesla said it just completed its first-ever profitable quarter. And in February, Musk said his company would pay back its $465 million loan from the US Department of Energy in five years, or half the time previously projected. Check out Branson's write up here.