Utility focussed

Virgin Hyperloop One raises $50 million and makes Richard Branson chairman

Virgin Hyperloop One, a startup from Los Angeles backed by Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson has raised $50 million from existing investors Russia’s Caspian Venture Capital and Dubai’s DP World. The company which is on the grounds of developing a superfast transportation system has appointed British billionaire Richard Branson as the chairman of its board of directors.

The recently acquired funding will be used by the company to develop high-speed, near vacuum train transit. Since its inception, Virgin Hyperloop One has raised $295 million. In October this year, the company rebranded itself as Hyperloop One following an investment from Virgin which paved the way for Richard Branson to take a board seat.

Hyperloop One, which was founded in 2014, a year after Elon Musk,  the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla publicised its concept is planning to create networks of depressurized transit tubes through which pods carrying passengers and cargo could go from one place to another at almost the speed of sound.

Recently, Shervin Pishevar, who is a prime investor in ride-hailing platform Uber, stepped down from the board of the Hyperloop One as well as from the post of managing director of venture capital firm Sherpa Capital after being accused of sexual exploitation by 5 women.

In the tests took place at Virgin Hyperloop One’s 500-meter (1,640-foot) DevLoop test tunnel in Nevada, the company reported that its test pods attained a maximum speed of 240 miles per hour.

Last month, Virgin Hyperloop One signed an MoU with Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD) to conduct a feasibility study to check the practicality of the proposed project in Banglore. If this project becomes a reality, passengers would be able to travel from Banglore to Chennai in just 20 minutes.

Earlier this year, the government of Andhra Pradesh also signed an MoU with the company to conduct a feasibility test in the state that will cut the travelling time from Amravati to Vijayawada to just 5 minutes.

Virgin Hyperloop One has its partners in various parts of the world including Dubai, Russia, Canada, Finland, USA, and India.

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