Billionaires Branson, Musk, Russians: LA-SFO 30 minutes in Virgin tube

Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One completed the third phase of testing for the world's first working Hyperloop prototype, reaching 240 miles per hour, the company announced Monday.

Virgin Hyperloop One's CEO Rob Lloyd said with this, the total financing raised by Virgin Hyperloop One has risen to $295 million since its founding three years back.

Virgin Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles, CA-based company that has built a full-scale hyperloop system, raised $50m in Series C funding. Several companies have formed to make the Hyperloop vision a reality, but Virgin Hyperloop One has arguably come the closest.

The technology, whose name and concept was dreamed up by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, involves magnetically levitated pods that scoot along at high speeds inside pressurized tubes that in theory could be placed above or below ground.

Hyperloop One was one of a handful of investments whose potential to upend major sectors had earned Pishevar a place as one of Silicon Valley's influential investors.

These other developments were also announced by Hyperloop yesterday.

Dubai's DP World and Russia's Caspian Venture Capital are each contributing $25 million in a combination of convertible loans and stock warrant purchases, according to a financial document reviewed by Bloomberg.

The company is behind a proposed high-speed, futuristic transit system that has earned the attention of Missouri transportation and political officials.

Virgin Hyperloop One managed to beat Musk's record with a combination of two technologies: a vacuum capable of reducing air pressures to the level seen 200,000 feet above sea level, and magnetic levitation capable of eliminating friction between the hyperloop pod and the track.

Hyperloop One is also working on projects in the Middle East, Europe, India and Canada.

In addition to revealing its latest investment by DP World, Virgin Hyperloop One also announced it had named British billionaire Richard Branson as its chairman.

"All components of the system were successfully tested including the airlock, highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum", the startup wrote in a press release.

"I am excited by the latest developments at Virgin Hyperloop One and delighted to be its new [chair]", Branson, said.

Shervin Pishevar, was one of the founders of Hyperloop One and its co-executive chairman, but took a leave of absence from the company as well as his own venture capital firm in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.

The Hyperloop achieved a speed of 240mph in its testing facility in Nevada.

Virgin Hyperloop One confirmed the funding in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

  • Eleanor Harrison