The possibility of the Middle East seeing the first commercially viable hyperloop transportation system has moved a step closer after Dubai-based port operator DP World injected more capital into one of the companies at the forefront of the race.
Together with Caspian Venture Capital, DP World has injected a further $50mn into Virgin Hyperloop One, which has rebranded itself after securing the backing of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Branson is now non-executive chairman of the firm, which claims to be the only one in the world to have built a full-scale hyperloop system.
“The recent investment by our partners Caspian Venture Capital and DP World sets up the company to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Russia as it develops game- changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems,” said Branson.
The deal represents an additional investment from DP World, which is hoping to pioneer the revolutionary transportation technology to shift cargo within the UAE. Caspian Venture Capital and DP World have been consistently supportive investors and have backed the company in each of its funding rounds, Virgin Hyperloop One said adding that it has raised a total of $295mn since 2014.
“This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018 ahead of our Series C round of fundraising. We are so proud to have investors who consistently step-up to support our company and our vision,” said Virgin Hyperloop One’s CEO Rob Lloyd.
“We continue to see extremely strong interest from world leaders globally looking to embrace hyperloop to address critical infrastructure challenges. Our focus in 2018 will be on accelerating commercial agreements for both passenger and cargo projects.”
Virgin Hyperloop One has also set a historic test speed record of nearly 387 kmh (240 miles per hour, 107 meters per second) during its third phase of testing..
The company achieved faster speeds and tested a new airlock which helps transition test pods between atmospheric and vacuum conditions during its latest test campaign which was completed on December 15, 2017.
“The recent phase three testing continues to prove the incredible persistence and determination of our DevLoop team -- the close to 200 engineers, machinists, welders, and fabricators who collaborated to make hyperloop a reality today,” said Josh Giegel, Virgin Hyperloop One’s co-founder and chief technology officer.
“The continued support from our existing investors Caspian Venture Capital and DP World highlight their adamant belief in our ability to execute.”