$50mn closer: Hyperloop One gets investment from its Dubai backer, hires ex-Google treasurer

Journalists and guests look over tubes following a propulsion open-air test at Hyperloop One in North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. May 11, 2016. © Steve Marcus
Hyperloop One, a company that might soon introduce humans to a new era of epic high-speed travel inside an airspeed tube, just raised another $50 million. Uber’s former financial executive is now on board as well.

"We are very proud to welcome our new investors, financial partners and board members to those who already share our passion and commitment to develop the next mode of transportation that will eliminate the barriers of time and distance," Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said in a statement.

The Los Angeles-based startup has won backing from Dubai’s DP World Group, bringing its bank to $160 million since its founding in 2014.

DP World, the third-largest port and terminals operator in the world, teamed up with Hyperloop One in mid-August, planning to build a Hyperloop to run from DP World’s flagship Jebel Ali port to an inland container depot.

"We are exploring many innovations in our sector and our collaboration with Hyperloop One is just one example illustrating our support of creativity and our commitment to research and development, using technologies to make our operations more efficient,” said DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

While Hyperloop One’s current budget might be just a fraction of what the company may really need to make Elon Musk’s fantasy a reality, financial backing seems to be coming right on time. Hyperloop One is preparing for a full-scale test of its system in the first quarter of 2017.

“Things are moving quickly,” Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said, according to Forbes. “I’ve only been here a year but the things we’ve accomplished in that year, the talent of the team, it’s exciting to be on track to show the world a prototype in the first quarter of 2017.”

Hyperloop One already has a test track in North Las Vegas that it used to show off its floating train system for the very first time in May. 

In another major development, the company welcomed a new talent – Brent Callinicos, a former chief financial officer for Uber and treasurer for Google and Microsoft in the past – to help it get through funding needs and issues.

“I have always dreamed of having someone of Brent’s caliber and experience join our senior team," Hyperloop chairman Shervin Pishvar said in a statement. "I saw first hand his contributions to Uber when it scaled from 300 employees to 3,000-plus, launched hundreds of cities and raised billions of dollars. His experience will be invaluable as we prepare for the next stage in our funding and development.”

Taking Musk’s idea he voiced in 2013, Hyperloop One plans on transporting people and goods in capsules through a global network of tubes at speeds up to 800mph (1280kph).

Using extremely low air pressure, the human-sized tubes could potentially move people in pods from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 35 minutes – a trip that currently takes an hour by plane, five and a half hours driving, seven hours by bus, and 12 hours via train.