Richard Branson is betting on the Hyperloop.
Branson’s Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One, the company that is attempting to build the ultra-fast transportation system championed by Elon Musk.
And it’s not just an investment. The company will now go by Virgin Hyperloop One. Branson is also joining the company’s board.
Branson’s investment is part of the $85 million funding round that first became public in September. That money valued the company at around $700 million. How much of that came from Branson’s Virgin Group has not been publicly announced.
“We’re incredibly excited about the technology behind Virgin Hyperloop One and the way it could transform passengers’ lives,” Branson wrote in a blog post announcing the investment.
“Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies. From our airlines to our trains to our spaceline, we have long been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people’s lives. This is just the latest example,” Branson wrote.
Branson had hinted earlier this year that he was interested in Hyperloop.
Hyperloop One’s development has been steady. The company’s full-scale test pod nearly hit 200 miles per hour during a recent test, and could push 250 mp in future tests.
There’s still plenty of work to do. Hyperloop’s top speed is expected to reach more than 750 mph, and operations are still limited to test tracks.
Once completed, the system has the chance to revolutionize mid-distance travel. An operable Hyperloop is projected to zip people between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 30 minutes.
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