In this horse race, we donâ€™t know if anyone will finish, but Hyperloop One is way ahead going into the first turn.
When Elon Musk published his 57 page challenge to build a pod-in-a-tube, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) was first out of the gate. Â It was a romantic concept, a technology commune.Â From each according to his ability, to each some stock options. Â But cash is more compelling.
Hyperloop Transportation got started a year later, but with venture capital backing. Â The only major mistake itâ€™s made so far was to pick a name maddeningly similar to its rival HTT. Â It fixed that with a rebranding to Hyperloop One.
Hyperloop Oneâ€™s jockey is no lightweight.Â Rob Lloyd, formerly president of Cisco, mounted in June 2015.Â Since then it appears that the company has spared nothing to get the best team on board.Â Unlike its rival, Hyperloop One publishes its team roster on its website.
Judging a company by its roster is a bit like predicting the success of a varsity team by looking at the freshman bench.Â For a better prediction, we ought to look at the companies which have chosen to partner with Hyperloop One. Â Alliances come easier when the partner has cash.Â They must have some; the company promised Las Vegas it would spend $100 million in Henderson County. Â As a measure of seriousness, letâ€™s look at the team:
- AECOM (Los Angeles) — engineering
- Amberg Group (Switzerland) â€“ transportation and tunneling
- Arup â€“ passenger market evaluation
- Bjarke Ingels Group (New York and Copenhagen) Architecture
- Cargo Sous Terrain (Switzerland) freight in Switzerland
- Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting (Germany) rail
- FS Links â€“ Finland- Sweden freight feasibility
- BGE Ventures â€“ venture capital
- Grid Logistics â€“ container handling
- KPMG — consulting
- Systra â€“ rail
Every entry on the list is impressive; only one is peculiar. Â AECOM is building SpaceXâ€™ test track in Hawthorne. Â Hyperloop Transportation Technologies claims them as a partner too.
The money behind Hyperloop One is solid, too.Â Its most recent funding is $80 million,
- Sherpa Ventures
- Caspian Venture Partners
- 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures
- Fast Digital
- Western Technology Investment (WTI)
- SNCF ( the French national rail company)
- GE Ventures.
Hyperloop One has a qualified paid team, strong partners, and cash. Â This punter handicaps it the likely winner.