Venture Capital

How Hyperloop One Went Off the Rails

The transportation startup is trying to make a pod levitate in a tunnel, but can it rise above founder clashes and employee lawsuits?

Hyperloop tubes are displayed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site on May 11, in Las Vegas.

Photographer: John Gurzinski/AFP via Getty Images

In December 2014, an engineer with the unlikely name Brogan BamBrogan was in the driveway of his clapboard Los Angeles house, loading up his car for a holiday road trip to Northern California, when venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar messaged him for a favor. The two were founders of Hyperloop One, a startup building futuristic tubes to zip people from city to city. Shervin Pishevar, a partner at Sherpa Capital, was the money guy; BamBrogan the chief technical officer. Pishevar's brother, Afshin Pishevar, was driving west from Washington to join the company as general counsel, and needed a place to stay. BamBrogan and his wife stopped packing, cleaned the bathroom, and tucked a spare key under the front mat of his Los Feliz home. When they returned a few days later, Afshin Pishevar was still there. Their houseplants were littered with cigarette butts.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.