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Virgin Hyperloop One: Full Speed Ahead

All right, folks, it’s been a week now. Are you ready for more coolness? I think so. Today I bring you Virgin Hyperloop One, and with it comes a truly significant amount of that coolness you seek.

Vacuum technology has been around for a while. No, I’m not talking about the Hoover that sucks the crumbs out of the living room carpet… I’m referring to the vacuum tubes that move items from point A to point B. You’ve seen them used at the drive-thru at the bank, or perhaps in an office in which memos had to be quickly passed around in the pre-email days. A clear plastic pod the size of a can of tennis balls would whoosh through a pneumatic tube and, like magic, the document has changed hands.

Now… imagine making one of those pods slightly larger than a Hummer limo, putting a couple of dozen people inside, and whooshing them across hundreds of miles at speeds of up to 700 MPH. I told you this one was going to be cool. The best part: I’m not dreaming about some far-off technology that your grandchildren might be able to enjoy. These tunnels, and these pods, will be operational and ready for public use in a few short years.

Founded by Elon Musk as Hyperloop Technologies five years ago, the company changed its name to Hyperloop One in 2016. Then, following the announcement of a strategic partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in October 2017, the current name of Virgin Hyperloop One was established. One would be intensely challenged to suggest a better pedigree than that of Musk and Branson in the modern age of technology.

The Musk / Branson benefits go beyond attention-grabbing name recognition: With chops like these, Virgin Hyperloop One can attract the “planetary masters of their art”, whether the “art” is computer engineering, aerospace and aerodynamic engineering, mechanical design, motor systems, or rocket technology. The ever-growing team of the best and the brightest puts this company in a remarkably advantageous position as it rapidly advances the science of propulsion.

The tubes themselves are a low-pressure environment that promotes faster and smoother propulsion. To get the pods moving, Virgin Hyperloop has perfected the science of magnetic levitation — a network of magnets and tracks that propels the pod at a velocity equivalent to that of a jetliner. This adds up to the transportation of people or cargo with air travel speed at a much lower pollution level and with drastically improved efficiency. The pods consume very little energy and they expend no direct carbon emissions. Zero emissions. Zilch. Nada. Futurists, travel enthusiasts, and environmentalists: unite and rejoice! And you, too, will rejoice when you watch this YouTube video addressing the top ten questions about Virgin Hyperloop One… and rejoice extra-hard as you realize that Iron Edge has access to pre-IPO shares of this futuristic marvel.

An SEC filing earlier this month disclosed Virgin Hyperloop One’s intent to raise nearly $225 million in new equity funding, of which $172 million has already been secured. The company’s valuation, it seems, has a very secure future. On the headline-grabbing news front, plans are in place to execute the dream. Virgin Hyperloop One already has a short,1640-foot tube, named “Devloop” in the Nevada Desert. That one is used for testing and demonstration purposes. The first actual track, though, will likely be in India. There, it will reduce the trip from Mumbai to Pune to thirteen minutes, down from an hour and a half. After this success will come rapid expansion over a few years —- not decades — and all will truly be “full speed ahead” for this remarkable enterprise.

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Paul Maguire

Founder And Managing Partner