Hyperloop chief operating officer Bibop Gresta says Silicon Valley is overhyped and Los Angeles is the place where real innovation occurs in California.
“The guys that make things up are in Silicon Valley,” he told Business Insider at a future of transport conference in London this week. “They just talk. In LA right now we have NASA, Jet Propulsion Lab, Tesla, SpaceX. If you want to do something in innovation you should be in LA.”
The exec — who has IPO’d three companies in as many countries — joined the jet-tube transport company about 18 months ago, in a bid to turn Elon Musk’s futuristic transport concept into a reality.
The Hyperloop concept involves firing a train full of people through a low-pressure tube at speeds of up to 740 mph. It has been described by Musk as a mix between Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.
Musk said it could be used to transport people from San Francisco to LA in under half an hour.
A five-mile prototype of Hyperloop is due to be demonstrated in California’s Quay Valley within the next three years. If successful, larger versions of Hyperloop could be built across the world. Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Botswana and India are all in contention. “We think the first Hyperloop will be built in a country where there’s a lack of infrastructure and less regulation,” said Gresta.
Hyperloop is being led by CEO Dirk Ahlborn and a group of over 100 scientists and engineers. Musk has previously said he would take the idea forward himself if he wasn’t so busy leading other companies like Tesla.
Los Angeles has traditionally been known for its Hollywood movie industry but Gresta said it now has a serious startup scene, pointing to the newly Silicon Beach tech cluster to support his case.
Silicon Valley on the other hand is home to some of the largest technology companies in the world, with Apple, Facebook and Google all headquartered there.
Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggested that Silicon Valley’s position at the “centre of the universe” might now last forever.
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