Virgin Hyperloop One Appoints Richard Branson As Chairman, Receives $50 Million Lifeline

Virgin Hyperloop One has announced on Monday that it has secured a $50 million lifeline for their fast-traveling, tube-based transportation system. In addition, the start-up went one step further and named billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, as non-executive chairman. The financial backing reportedly came from two foreign investors.

Branson took control of Virgin Hyperloop One two weeks after its co-founder, Shervin Pishevar, left the company after being accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Pishevar vehemently denied the allegations and took a leave of absence from the company which then later turned into a resignation.

Virgin Hyperloop One is just one of several companies who are currently developing a high-speed transportation alternative to trains.

“This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018,” said Rob Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer of the company.

In 2018, Hyperloop One will focus on speeding up commercial agreements for passenger and cargo projects, Lloyd added.

The investment comes from Dubai-based DP World and Cyprus-based Caspian Venture Capital. Both investors offered $25 million each in the form of convertible loans and stock warrant purchases, according to several sources familiar with the matter. As part of the joint financial lifeline, both firms will receive a cut of future revenue.

The $50 million addition will raise Virgin Hyperloop One’s total capital to $295 million.

Hyperloop One was founded by Pishevar in 2014 along with an engineer name Brogan BamBrogan. Their focus was on developing high-speed trains, drawing inspiration from Elon Musk’s vision.  The concept involves magnetically held pods that hover at high speeds inside pressurized tubes. In theory, the futuristic transportation can work both above and below ground.

BamBrogan would later leave the company after suing Pishevar and start his own rival hyperloop company named Arrivo.

Hyperloop One is currently working on projects all over the world, including Europe, India, Canada, and the Middle-East.

Image Source: Flickr

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