May 23, 2024
Elon Musk inspired start-up, Hyperloop One, shuts down

Hyperloop One the high-speed freight and transport company created to connect global regions has closed.

Now the company has announced redundancies and company asset sales.

At the beginning of the year the company headcount was in the region of 200 staff, now only a few have been left to sell the remaining company property before their contracts end on December 31. As reported via Bloomberg.

What was Hyperloop One?

Once the brainchild of Elon Musk’s “Alpha paper” Hyperloop One was intended to send passengers and freight via super-fast rail lines.

The proposal stated that passengers could be transported from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes.

The technology was similar to Japanese bullet trains, but passengers and cargo would be placed in metal pods and whisked away at high speed. The company built a test site in the Las Vegas desert after raising $450 million in funding.

At one point the supersonic transport company was in the news for all the wrong reasons as Co-Founder Brogan BamBrogan filed a nepotism and harassment suit after a noose was allegedly left in his company chair.

One of the major investors was Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, with the British billionaire joining the Hyperloop Board of Directors in 2017.

The company re-branded to Virgin Hyperloop to announce the partnership, stating:

“With Virgin Hyperloop One, passengers and cargo will be loaded into a pod, and accelerate gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.”

As reported in February 2022 by the Financial Times, over half of the Virgin Hyperloop staff were let go after the company focused solely on shipping and transportation. This would result in Virgin removing its branding and stepping away from the project.

A turbulent time for Elon Musk

The closure adds to a difficult year for the world’s richest man as he has faced professional and personal controversy throughout 2023.

In November of this year, Musk gave a public apology after endorsing a suspected antisemitic post on his social media platform X. Saying this was the worst post in the platform’s history.

The year would only get harder for Musk as a public outburst during an interview led to major advertisers withdrawing from the platform to a reported $75 million loss for X.

Musk has since created a political advertising team to try and offset the money lost via advertising to the tune of $100 million.

Image Credit: Daniel McCullough, Unsplash.

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