VC heavyweight tells Qantas, Virgin to get on board with the Hyperloop or miss out

VicHyper pod unveiled at RMIT in Melbourn. Photo: Supplied.

Philip Kingston, managing director of Melbourne-based venture capital firm Trimantium Capital, says the Hyperloop could be a huge opportunity for Australian airlines.

Kingston, who is also a board member on LaunchVic, an independent body launched by the Victorian government to look over its $60 million startup fund, told The Australian that Qantas and Virgin Australia should adopt the Hyperloop as a national project.

“These guys have a choice,” he told The Australian. “As aviation or transportation incumbents, do you fight it and hope it doesn’t happen? And then focus on your current markets?

“Or do you embrace it, own it, and be part of it, and make an enormous amount of money?”

He said to date the Hyperloop has been very successful in raising funding and getting support from “smart investors”.

“Infrastructure investors that own airports or aviation stocks are investing to de-risk their portfolio. If you own an airport or a plane it’s imprudent to not take some kind of hedge against the traditional transportation,” he said.

“Our airlines are some of the best in the world but there is a limitation on the technology. And this is a breakthrough. So I would ask the executives of Qantas and Virgin, do you want to fight this or do you want to be a part of it?”

The Hyperloop is the dream child of Tesla founder Elon Musk. The concept is a levitating pod transporting people and cargo at 1,200km/h — a speed that would get you from Sydney to Melbourne in just 50 minutes.

This week VicHyper was announced as the only finalist from the southern hemisphere for Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition.

On Monday night the company unveiled its prototype for the Hyperloop at Melbourne’s RMIT University.

The 30-strong VicHyper team, consisting entirely of RMIT students, was selected from among 1700 entries to compete in the final 30, alongside universities such as MIT and Stanford. The pod will head to California for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, 27-29 January, 2017.

Read more on that here.

The Australian has more.

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