Virgin Group just invested in Hyperloop One -- and Richard Branson now sits on the board

Richard branson hyperloopVirgin GroupRichard Branson (center) stands in front of the Hyperloop at Hyperloop One’s test site in Nevada.

Hyperloop One just struck a major deal with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Virgin Group announced Thursday that it has invested in Hyperloop One, a startup that’s working on constructing the high-speed transit system Elon Musk first outlined in a white paper in 2013. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the investment was significant enough that Hyperloop One will now be called Virgin Hyperloop.

“After visiting Hyperloop One’s test site in Nevada and meeting its leadership team this past summer, I am convinced this groundbreaking technology will change transportation as we know it and dramatically cut journey times,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said in a press release.

Hyperloop One is headed by Shervin Pishevar, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist best known as an early investor in Uber. The Los Angeles-based startup is conducting feasibility studies in Dubai and Finland for the transit system. US cities like Denver and Nevada have also submitted proposals for the construction of a Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop is a nascent transportation system that works by shooting pods through a vacuumed-sealed tube at speeds that experts say could reach 700 mph.

The company has conducted two successful tests of its Hyperloop system on its 500-meter development track in Nevada.

In August, the Hyperloop travelled almost the entire length of the track and reached a top speed of 192 mph. It reached a top speed of 70 mph after travelling 300 feet a month prior. The company still needs to demonstrate that the system could transport people on tracks long enough to connect cities.

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