Saturday Special – High-speed Travel Startup Keen to Take India in Loop

Hyperloop tech co HTT looking to India as one of its first markets and a source of tech talent

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a US startup which is hoping to revolutionise travel based on a concept championed by Elon Musk, is looking to India as one of its first target markets and as a source of technology talent, according to senior company executives.

HTT, which is based on the idea of mass collaboration and crowdsourcing, will open conversations with government authorities to begin assessing opportunities for bringing Hyperloop to India, Joel Michael, the chief global operations director of the Los Angelesbased company told ET by email.

“Imagine Chennai to Bengaluru in less than 30 minutes for a fraction of the cost of air travel today,” said Michael, who along with HTT Chief Operating Officer Bibop Gresta, will travel to Indore next week to attend the i5 Summit. The Hyperloop -high-speed travel in pods inside a partial vacuum tube -is the brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk, who open-sourced the basic design in 2013 in the form of a white paper. Since then, two companies -HTT and Hyperloop One, backed among others by GE Ventures and Khosla Ventures -have taken the lead in building what they hope will be commercially successful companies based on this technology.

“Transportation is a multi-billion dollar industry that has yet to meaningfully innovate against issues like gridlock, pollution and traveller discomfort,” said the Italian-born Gresta, who teamed up with Dirk Ahlborn, the founder of online crowdsourcing platform JumptStartFund for HTT. “We see our role as taking responsibility for introducing that innovation.”

HTT, which relies on mass collaboration and crowd-sourcing, has a team of over 500 who are rewarded in the form of stock options for the work they do. In addition to the market in India, HTT is looking to the country for collaborators who will contribute with their talent. “India stepping into the Age of Hyperloop means tremendous opportunities for Indian talent,” Gresta said.

Right now, HTT is building a five-mile (8-km) test track in Quay Valley, California which it expects to open in early 2019. The company expects top speed of 1,200 km per hour.

HTT says it will rely heavily on renewable and kinetic energy and keep costs low by using medians for the pylons. It estimates that a single tube could carry 1.44 lakh passengers daily at 40-second intervals. Over a distance of 500 km, it is aiming for ticket price under $30, or Rs 2000.

Earlier this year it reached an agreement with Slovakia to serve as a hub in developing a Hyperloop line connecting Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.

“India is the perfect example of a vibrant country that could benefit immensely from more immediate, reliable and meaningful connections between markets of all sizes,” said Michael, a Pune native who is based in Dubai.

Source : The Economic Times (Delhi)



Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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