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Hyperloop raises $50 Mn funds, elevates Richard Branson as new chairman


Virgin Hyperloop One, a startup backed by Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson to create ultra-high-velocity transportation solution has raised $50 million in new financing from existing investors Caspian Venture Capital and DP World. The company also named British billionaire Branson as its non-executive chairman.

The latest funding will be deployed towards its rapid-transit development effort. It brings the total financing raised by Virgin Hyperloop One to $295 million since its founding in 2014

The company had earlier rebranded itself as Virgin Hyperloop One following an investment from Virgin Group in October this year. Branson had taken a board seat at the company through this investment.

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One was founded in 2014, a year after its concept was formulated by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. The plan is to create networks of depressurized transit tubes through which pods carrying passengers and cargo could travel at near the speed of sound.

Hyperloop’s other co-founder Shervin Pishevar recently stepped down from the board of Hyperloop One after being accused of sexual exploitation by 5 women. An investor in ride-hailing major Uber, Pishevar also resigned from the post of managing director of venture capital firm Sherpa Capital.

In a recent development, Hyperloop has been working on high-speed transit system projects with partners in Dubai, Russia, Canada, Finland, USA, and India.

Also Read: Hyperloop India partners with Ketto to raise crowdfund

The company reported that its test pod reached a top speed of 240 mph during its Phase 3 round of testing, which finished up last week. The tests took place at Virgin Hyperloop One’s 500-meter (1,640-foot) DevLoop test tunnel in Nevada.

Last month, the firm has signed an MoU with Karnataka Urban Development Department (KUDD), to conduct a feasibility study in Bengaluru. If the project comes to fruition, passengers will be able to travel from Bengaluru to Chennai in a matter of just 20 minutes.

Earlier this year, the Andhra Pradesh government signed an MoU with the US-based firm to do a feasibility study that could cut down the travel time between Amaravati and Vijayawada to just 5 minutes. The firm is conducting similar studies along with Maharashtra, as Mumbai and Pune have the potential to provide an optimal route with high density.

The report was first published in TechCrunch.

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