Virgin Hyperloop One Raises $50m and Names Branson Chair

Ann Santiago
December 20, 2017

The other bit of news from the company was that it has set a test speed record on a Hyperloop track at 387kph on its full-scale test site, DevLoop.

Virgin Hyperloop One said the new investments bring the total financing raised to $295 million.

During these tests, the system clocked a lightning-fast speed of almost 387 kmh (240 mph), breaking the 355 kmh (220 mph) hyperloop speed record set by Elon Musk's hyperloop in August.

The Virgin Group founder replaces Shervin Pishevar, who stepped down from the company's board two weeks ago in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment.

Just before Christmas, Virgin Hyperloop One has revealed that along with achieving $50m in new funding, it has appointed Richard Branson's as its chair.

Dubai's Road and Transport Authority has been in active talks with the company, assessing the feasibility of a project that would deploy train-like capsules that float on air and travel at high speeds through a low-pressure tube. All components of the system were tested including the airlock, highly efficient electric motor, advanced controls and power electronics, custom magnetic levitation and guidance, pod suspension, and the vacuum.

Kelly Sullivan | Getty Images
Kelly Sullivan | Getty Images

The company today also announced a new $50 million round in funding to keep its futuristic transport ambitions afloat and the appointment of Richard Branson as non-executive chairman. Branson's company has invested a unknown sum in the company, which renamed itself Virgin Hyperloop One in October.

"With a new chairman on-board, new funding and new records that prove that our technology is at a further state of readiness, we are poised for the next phase of evolution - commercialisation", Josh Giegel, co-founder and chief technology officer, said.

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.

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

Ultra-low drag allows the pod to "glide at airline speeds for long distances", the company said. Musk has suggested a hyperloop system - with passenger-carrying pods zipping through vacuum tubes - could ultimately travel at speeds as high as 700 miles per hour, cutting the commute between Los Angeles and San Francisco to about 30 minutes. Supporting the work of Virgin Hyperloop One is part of our continued efforts to think ahead and plan for change and these kind of disruptive technologies have great potential.

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

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