omething Big is a Romanian investment fund recently founded in Cluj Napoca. They kick-off their activity with big news: they pledged an undisclosed amount to Swisspod, a Swiss startup that is currently building Elon Musk’s hyperloop.

If you’re to listen to the founders, it wasn’t a hard decision to support Swisspod.

Something Big believes they’re the future.

“We believe that the Hyperloop technology is the future of transportation, and what Denis Tudor created with Swisspod, in such a short time, couldn’t have let us be passive. The awards they won, but also the way they were able to put together a stellar team of engineers, convinced us to become partners.” - Alex Rus, CEO and Co-founder of Something Big

Yup, Denis Tudor is the name of the CEO and Co-founder of Swisspod. He’s also Romanian, and that helped, because Something Big wants to diversify its portfolio by investing in romanian-led, or romanian-created startups.

So what is Swisspod building?

The hyperloop is a transportation solution with a twist. You basically set-up a long tube which acts as a vacuum, and inside you have a capsule that, thanks to the lack of resistance from air, can reach supersonic speeds of up to 1200 km/h.

That means LA to New York in about 2 hours.

Or Paris to Venice in less than an hour.

Not to mention, it’s environmentally friendly - the CO2 emissions that would result from the hyperloop are drastically smaller than any other means of transportation we have.

“We want to eliminate barriers of distance and time, and to connect the cities of Europe, and the world, all of this with as little emissions as possible” - Denis Tudor, CEO and Co-Founder of Swisspod

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Swisspod won contests organized by Elon Musk, founder of Spacex and Tesla, designed to test the idea of a hyperloop. The swiss company even did tests on the system together with Musk and his team.

So What’s The Deal With This Hyperloop?

Back in 2012, Elon Musk started talking about a “fifth mode of transport”, promising a lot of things with his new idea of a hyperloop.

In late 2012, and early 2013, his team came up with the system and published blueprints and ideas on how the hyperloop could operate.

Ever since then, a few companies have joined in on the fun.

Currently, at least the following companies are working on hyperloop-related technologies:

  • Virgin Hyperloop One
  • Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
  • TransPod
  • DGWHyperloop
  • Arrivo
  • Hardt Global Mobility
  • Hyper Chariot
  • Zeleros
  • HyperPoland
  • Swisspod

But in Elon Musk fashion, everything his team of engineers created for the hyperloop is open-source, so there could be more.

But the system hasn’t gone throughout the years without criticism.

Most notably, John Hansman, a professor of aeronautics at MIT criticized the vulnerabilities of such a system, claiming that the slightest misalignment of the tube, which could even appear with regular seismic shifting, can cause a tragic malfunction.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind, but that’s why everyone is focused on successful testing and application.

What do you think?

Can Swisspod, Something Big and all the other companies working on hyperloop technology build a safe, fast and sustainable means of transportation?

Jul 3, 2020

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