Hyperloop One is getting even cozier with its partners in the United Arab Emirates. The futuristic transportation system that aims to ship things and people faster than a speeding plane just pulled in $50 million in strategic investment from DP World Group of Dubai, bringing up the total now raised to $160 million.
DP World Group is the third largest ports operator in the world and has been working with HO topursue development of a Hyperloop in the Gulf. Dubai Future Acceleratorsrecently agreed to work in conjunction with HO to build the first Hyperloop for cargo in the region.
Shervin Pishevar: The first Hyperloop will likely be built overseas A look inside Hyperloop One's wildly fast future Dubai could be the first to hop on Hyperloop One's global shipping train The new $50 million is a convertible note and will be part of an on-going raise towards a Series C round, which the company tells TechCrunch will conclude sometime in 2017.
The plan is to use the cash to continue making progress on development in Dubai and throughout the world. The company has aligned itself with various governments and transportation partners around the globe, including inRussia, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
It’s an opportune time for the raise as the company will need those funds to make progress on its ambitious plans. HO has set up a test track in the desert, just north of Las Vegas, Nevada as well as a 100,000-square-foot Metalworks fabrication facility there to build its first full-scale prototype. The company is steadfastly gearing up for its “Kitty Hawk” moment in Q1 of 2017 when it takes its first test run of the Hyperloop train.
ALTEL Ventures, which is also part of this round and often provides equipment financing, will be providing the capital for the continued build out of Metalworks and the test site.
“This is all the capital required to build the system, develop the prototype and take us well into the future,” CEO Rob Lloyd said, adding that the expertise in logistics, the realities of costs and revenue potential would all benefit the company as it moves forward.
“And it’s great to have an investor that is also potentially a customer,” Lloyd said.
The new investment also adds the shipping industry savvy of DP World’s Group Chairman and CEO His Excellency Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem to the board of directors.
Ziyavudin Magomedov, chairman of the Summa Group, a Russian port logistics and consulting firm which haspreviously explored a relationship with HO, is also joining the board.
In addition, HO has hired Brent Callinicos as its new chief financial officer. Callinicos was previously Google’s treasurer and more recently Uber’s CFO, where he saw the company go from 300 employees to 3,000, and helped it grow into a multi-billion dollar company.
HO is also working with various teams on a global challenge to improve the technology. It will be looking at the various submitted ideas from around the world and determining which plan looks viable to implement. One promising project Lloyd mentioned involved working with the Los Angeles Port Authority to ship cargo through the ocean.
The company will likely need a much larger chunk of money that what it currently has in the coffers to get to a global shipping and transportation company with working systems throughout the world, but the team it has in place, the additional strategic funding and its future plans to demonstrate a working prototype and its carefully placed global partnerships — particularly with investors who could eventually become customers — sounds quite promising for this young startup. We’ll just have to wait and see if the technology works.