Once a highly praised startup, Hyperloop One raised over $450 million in funding since its start in 2014, according to Pitchbook, They began by building a small test track near Las Vegas to develop their transportation technology.
For a while, they even took on the name Virgin Hyperloop One after Richard Branson’s Virgin invested. However, the partnership with Virgin ended last year when the company shifted its focus from transporting people to moving cargo.
Now, Hyperloop One has significantly reduced its size, letting go of most of its employees. They’re currently trying to sell off what’s left, including the test track and machinery. This information comes from an unnamed source familiar with the situation. In early 2022, the company had more than 200 employees. The Los Angeles office has been closed, and the remaining workers handling the asset sale were informed that their employment would end on December 31.
DP World, a Dubai-based conglomerate and a major supporter since 2016, owns a majority stake in Hyperloop One. They are set to acquire the remaining intellectual property of the company. Despite attempts to get comments, both DP World and Hyperloop One’s acting CEO, Raja Narayanan, have not responded.
The history of Hyperloop One, formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies, involves a merger with a shell company in April, as reported by Bloomberg. During this transaction led by DP World,
The value of shares in various classes was reduced to zero cents, making the shareholders of the shell company the sole owners of Hyperloop One. This revelation was shared during an all-hands meeting where employees learned about DP World’s pivotal role.
Since its start in 2014, Hyperloop One captured the public’s imagination with its promise of groundbreaking transportation technology, inspired by Elon Musk’s white paper on the hyperloop vision.
Despite the initial excitement, the company struggled to secure contracts to build a functional hyperloop. It also faced negative attention, including incidents like co-founder Brogan BamBrogan finding a noose on his chair and sexual harassment allegations against co-founder Shervin Pishevar.
Another director, Ziyavudin Magomedov, was arrested in Moscow on unrelated charges of fraud and embezzlement. Although large-scale hyperloops have not materialized, other companies like Hardt Hyperloop, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Inc., and Swiss pod Technologies continue their efforts.
Elon Musk remains connected to the hyperloop concept, organizing student-designed hyperloop competitions and founding Boring Co., a tunneling business exploring related technologies.
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