Branson Appointment Was Apparently Key to Hyperloop One $50M Funding

Lucy Hill
December 20, 2017

The startup, originally simply "Hyperloop One", recently became Virgin Hyperloop One after receiving significant investment from mega-conglomerate Virgin Group.

The company develops super high-speed transportation systems which are expected to cut travel time between NY and Washington to about half an hour.

The hyperloop is a potentially groundbreaking mass transit system first popularized by business magnate Elon Musk, and which is now being developed by several different companies.

Virgin Hyperloop One concurrently announced a new investment of $50 million, ahead of its official series-C fundraising, from two existing foreign investors and, as an uncommon practice, agreed to share a portion of future profit. It was also revealed that the company has had an additional $50m in new finance poured into its coffers, making a total of $295m (£220.6m) in investment since the project's founding in 2014.

Virgin Hyperloop One logged 240mph with this prototype pod in December.

In its first trial in July, Hyperloop One achieved a speed of 69 miles per hour, as reported by TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet.

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Branson, founder of Virgin Group, replaced former chairman Shervin Pishevar, a co-founder who took a temporary leave and filed a defamation lawsuit this month in response to a barrage of media reports about alleged sexual-harassment allegations against him.

In August, the company claimed that its prototype pod had logged 192mph on the test track. Electricity-powered magnetic levitation lifts the pod above the track, and it can easily glide with little air resistance and using less energy, according to a press release.

"The recent investment by our partners Caspian Venture Capital and DP World sets up the company to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe and Russian Federation as it develops game-changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems", Branson said in a statement.

The combination of a near-vacuum tube combined with magnetic levitation is created to minimize friction.

Now that Branson is the chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, the company is reportedly receiving a bunch of new funding to the tune of $50 million from current investors Caspian Venture Capital and DP World.

Hyperloop may also provide a safer travel option to traditional travel by train: On Monday, an Amtrak train derailed on an overpass in Washington state, killing three people and injuring 100 more.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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