Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan4
Hyperloop To Be Crowdfunded & Crowdsourced?
Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing the Hyperloop? Well, if this happened, it would certainly go down in the history books as a major crowdfunding milestone and a major crowdsourcing milestone. Personally, I don’t think I would bet on it happening, but some notable people clearly think it’s possible, and the approach is actually about as good as could be, imho.
Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX, is one of two fundraisers looking to raise enough money for the $6 billion Hyperloop that SpaceX, Tesla, and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk designed with members of the Tesla and SpaceX teams. Prior to the unveiling of the preliminary design, Musk noted that he didn’t have time to pursue this idea — maybe in a few years if no one picked it up, but certainly not at the moment. But he put the design out there for others to adopt, improve, and perhaps try to implement… of course, if the money needed could be raised for such a massive project.
Dr Patricia Galloway, former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and current president of Pegasus Global Holdings Inc (a Washington-based energy and infrastructure adviser), is the other main fundraiser now working on the project. Again, not exactly a person to take lightly. She and Marco are currently raising funds on JumpStartFund, a startup that just went into public beta on August 22 and took on the Hyperloop as its flagship project.
Along with working on the theoretical design more, the next step is creating a company for the Hyperloop. ”We want to be the ones that actually make things happen,” Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and co-founder of JumpStartFund, said in an interview last Wednesday. “So of course we need to create a corporation. Whoever decides to dedicate more time to this than just logging onto the platform deserves to be part of this company.”
As reported before, the initial aim of the Hyperloop is 800 mph travel in individual capsules. Definitely a big leap above anything we have today. Transporting 7.4 million people a year between San Francisco and LA in 30 minutes for $20 a pop would theoretically result in the system paying for itself in about 20 years. For more details, check out this article: Elon Musk Has Unveiled The Hyperloop Details.
Granted, the initial draft was very rough. Many aspects of it have been criticized — financial and technical aspects. Nonetheless, if Marco Villa and Dr Patricia Galloway are on board… perhaps it’s still something to watch. And Ahlborn has noted that everything is still open to being changed. This is now a collaborative project with everything on the table for discussion. JumpStartFund is looking to make “everything” about the Hyperloop crowdsourced, an option that really could make a monumental technological project more possible.
“The whole concept is always going to be on the platform,” Ahlborn noted. “Everything is going to be very transparent, and we intend to reserve a percent of future revenues for people that work with us on the platform.” This even includes coming up with a name for the new company. Interesting that just as US democracy is faltering, such a democratic entrepreneurial process is sprouting.