Virgin announces Hyperloop One investment

12 October, 2017, 20:21 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Hyperloop One raised an $85 million round at a valuation that tops $700 million

The company announced Thursday that Branson and Virgin Group have invested an unspecified sum of money into the project, leading to the rebranding and creation of a "strategic partnership" that sees Branson join Hyperloop One's board of directors.

Virgin's plan is to focus on using Hyperloop One to transport passengers and cargo.

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson predicts he will travel in space before he ever becomes a passenger on a hyperloop. Musk popularized the idea of such technology, unveiling a design in 2013.

The technology for Hyperloop One is now in the early stages of the commercialisation phase after the successful completion of the world's first full scale hyperloop systems test at the DevLoop site outside Las Vegas. He described the hyperloop concept as "a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table".

Hyperloop One is headed by Shervin Pishevar, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist best known as an early investor in Uber.

The startup had raised more than $200 million prior to Tuesday's announcement.

Branson, a British billionaire with investments in retail, music and airlines, said he believes in the new system, which aims to deliver transport at near-supersonic speeds in sealed tubes.

"Virgin Hyperloop One are leading the way in these efforts", he continued, noting that the company is "working on exciting projects in the Middle East, Europe, India, Canada, and the U.S.". Jalopnik reported last month that a proposed route in Colorado that Hyperloop One is interested in could cost at least $24 billion. The company was embroiled in a messy lawsuit past year between its two founders. In August this year Hyperloop One successfully managed to fire a pod at 192mph.

Musk's hyperloop involvement is for now limited to potentially building the tunnels with his latest startup - The Boring Company.

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