Hyperloop One, an L.A.-based venture that wants to commercialize Elon Musk’s rapid-transit concept, says it has received $50 million in a financing round led by Dubai-based port operator DP World Group.
In a news release, Hyperloop One said the latest round brings its total financing to $160 million.
The announcement serves as another signal that cargo transport is likely to be one of the first applications for Hyperloop One’s near-supersonic, tube-running pods. DP World recently signed an agreement with Hyperloop One to look into building a system that would move containers from Dubai’s Port of Jebel Ali to a new inland depot.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World’s group chairman and CEO, is joining Hyperloop One’s board. So is Ziyavidin Magomedov, chairman of The Summa Group, a Russian-based company that has significant investments in port logistics and other industrial sectors.
Hyperloop One also said Brent Callicos, Uber’s former chief financial officer, is joining the executive team as a strategic financial adviser. Callicos also served in key financial roles at Google and Microsoft.
The company is building a 100,000-square-foot fabrication facility and a 137-acre test site in North Las Vegas, Nev., with the aim of demonstrating a full-scale Hyperloop system in the first quarter of 2017. Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd said the company is “on track” to meet that schedule.
Hyperloop One, formerly known as Hyperloop Technologies, conducted the first public test of its electric propulsion system in May. Since then, it’s become embroiled in a legal battle with former executives over management of the company.
The company isn’t affiliated with Musk, who unveiled the open-source hyperloop concept back in 2013 but left the job of commercializing it to others.
Another company, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, has announced plans to build a test track in Quay Valley, a solar-powered community taking shape in central California. The development timetable is dependent on regulatory approvals.
Meanwhile, Musk and a team from two of his companies – SpaceX and Tesla – are running a hyperloop pod competition for students and independent engineering teams. The finalists include a team from the University of Washington.
The contest is due to reach its climax in January when trial runs are conducted on a test track built next to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. A follow-up competition is already in the works, with the big race scheduled for next summer.