Hyperloop Technologies Names Former Cisco President Lloyd as CEO

  • Startup plans to finish two-mile test track within two years
  • Company seeks to commercialize Elon Musk's transit concept

Hyperloop Technologies Inc., a startup trying to develop Elon Musk’s idea for a high-speed transportation system, named former Cisco Systems Inc. co-president Rob Lloyd as chief executive officer.

Lloyd joins the 50-person company as it seeks to raise more than $75 million to complete a two-mile test track within the next two years. His hiring was announced in a statement Wednesday.

The Hyperloop is a concept proposed by Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Musk in a 2013 white paper detailed a transit system consisting of low-pressure steel tubes with aluminum capsules, or pods, supported on a cushion of air and capable of speeds of more than 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) per hour.

Since then, scores of engineers have contacted him about the idea while others have formed ventures to try to commercialize the concept. Musk and SpaceX aren’t involved with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Technologies. The startup was formed in 2014 by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan, an early engineer at SpaceX.

"Elon put this bold idea out to the community, with the hope that it would be brought forward," said Lloyd in an interview. "Elon would be pleased we’ve made as much progress as we have."

Lloyd said he heard about the company in July from Pishevar two days after leaving Cisco, where he had been president of development and sales. Lloyd said he was intrigued by the size of the transportation market and was impressed by Hyperloop Technologies’ board, which includes Internet entrepreneur David Sacks and Jim Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff.

"Our primary objective is to complete the test loop in the next two years," Lloyd said. "Proving that out will be a major milestone that will lead to commercial operations."

SpaceX isn’t pursuing commercialization of the Hyperloop. Musk’s company is sponsoring an open competition, geared toward university students and independent engineering teams, to design and build pods, with a one-mile test track to be built next to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Teams will be able to test their human-scale pods during a weekend competition slated for June 2016.

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