Virgin Group makes strategic investment in Hyperloop One

Hyperloop One raised an $85 million round at a valuation that tops $700 million

Hyperloop One's Nevada test track "DevLoop".

Virgin Group has invested in Hyperloop One and rebranded the company Virgin Hyperloop One.

"For more than 20 years, Richard and Virgin have been at the forefront of transportation innovation, and a partnership with them feels like a natural fit", Shervin Pishevar, co-founder and executive chairman of Hyperloop One, said in a statement.

Virgin founder Richard Branson will be joining the startup's board of directors, and the strategic partnership will focus on passenger and mixed-use cargo services.

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"Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies", said Branson in a blog post. Last month, Hyperloop One said it had raised an additional $85 million in financing from investors, bringing its total financing raised since its founding in 2014 to $245 million. Now just three high-profile companies are interested in the Hyperloop idea: Hyperloop One, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and His Muskiness' own Boring Company.

First proposed by Elon Musk in a paper in 2013, Hyperloop transport system revolves around the idea of allowing people to cover more distance in less time through a pod which magnetically levitates in a low-pressure tube and propels at near supersonic speeds (around 1,000kmph).

The pod lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and travels at "airline speeds" for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Since then it spurred on several engineers and start-ups across the world to take on the endeavor, including Hyperloop One. This is still far from the target but is expected to increase as the company moves ahead with the commercialisation phase. At show Hyperloop One is the main organization to have constructed a completely operational framework. The exact size of Virgin's investment has not been disclosed.

Branson's Virgin Galactic was granted an operating license in 2016 to fly its passenger rocketship SpaceShipTwo with the world's first paying space tourists aboard once final safety tests are completed.

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