Early-stage VC firm Cherubic Ventures announced yesterday it has invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop Technologies — the conceptual high-speed transportation system with an estimated travel speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour.
Elon Musk developed the white paper for the concept and the company Hyperloop Technologies Inc. was founded in 2014 by Uber investor Shervin Pishevar and SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan.
Initially dismissed as a Sci-fi fantasy idea from the notoriously forward-thinking Musk (colonising mars anyone?). The project is pitched as a high-speed train with the ability to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about 30 minutes (a commute that takes about six and a half hours by car).
The physics behind the idea is a system of tubes (built above ground) that operate with low air pressure. People would get into ‘capsules’ before being flung across the network at break-neck speeds.
But despite the early smirks, Hyperloop Technologies began to gather some momentum in late 2015.
It is now working with a Swiss vacuum technologies manufacturer Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum as well as Los Angeles-based engineering firm Aecom.
“In Silicon Valley, anything is possible. Sometimes a great cause alone can attract the best talents and achieve the impossible. It’s hard to find the same spirit in Asia,” said Cherubic Ventures Founder Matt Cheng in an official statement.
Cheng went on to say, in his opinion, students in Asia are encouraged to solve problems with shortcuts and companies have gotten used to focusing on building a product with the lowest possible bottom line.
The problem, he said, is the mindset makes it difficult to cultivate an innovative, high-impact, company.
The headquarters of Cherubic are technically in San Francisco, but the firm puts a lot of focus on the Greater China region and Southeast Asia.
In December 2015 it was part of a US$6 million Series A round in the Taiwanese mobile streaming company AdPlay.
While Hyperloop Technologies is still a long way off from viability, it will be interesting to see if it continues to generate momentum over 2016.
The CEO of Hyperloop Technologies is Cisco President Rob Lloyd.