Richard Branson invests in the hyperloop

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

The company will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One and Sir Richard will join the Los Angeles-based firm's board as part of the investment, worth an undisclosed amount.

Branson said: "Ever since our creation, Virgin has been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies".

It suggests that passengers and their luggage would travel through a pod that accelerates gradually using electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube that uses magnetic levitation to travel at lightning-fast speeds. He described the hyperloop concept as "a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table".

The British billionaire has announced an investment in Hyperloop One by Virgin Group, which will now be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One.

The startup had raised more than $200 million prior to Tuesday's announcement.

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In a statement released by Virgin on Thursday and credited to Branson, the entrepreneur noted that the new Virgin Hyperloop One could bring airline speeds to the ground.

The Hyperloop technology is now in the early stages of commercialization after a successful first full-scale systems test was conducted. "Hyperloop technology has been explicitly open-sourced and others have been encouraged to take the ideas and further develop them". "Virgin is an iconic brand and having Richard as an ally will help strengthen our mission to spread Hyperloop One throughout the world".

Branson said on CNBC that a hyperloop system could become reality in "between two and four years if governments move quickly" to approve it. Among all of the honey pots Virgin has dipped its hand in over the years are ventures in travel, commercial spaceflight, and commercial aviation, so Virgin has been around the block a few times when it comes to getting people from point A to point B. We'll see just how much of an asset Virgin's know-how is to the development of Hyperloop One soon enough, so stay tuned. Branson attended and said he saw "firsthand the exciting technology being tested".

Musk's hyperloop involvement is for now limited to potentially building the tunnels with his latest startup - The Boring Company.

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