Tesla CEO Elon Musk stirred a lot excitement in August when he released his plans for Hyperloop transportation that could go from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. But he made clear at the time that he wants to stay out of actually building it. Stepping up to the place is a group led by Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX, and Dr. Patricia Galloway, a former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who are now out looking for backers. They'll soon begin raising funds for their designs, and have been looking for volunteers to join in exchange for equity in the future company.
Networking has been taking place through the JumpStart Fund crowdfunding platform where Musk first posted the Hyperloop Alpha design in August. Users can start up proto-corporations on the platform around ideas they find interesting. "We look forward to receiving input and support from all the brilliant minds out there in the JumpStartFund community, to make this a true open-source development," Villa wrote to participants. The team received Musk's permission to develop the Hyperloop after receiving a lot of interest following release of the design concept. The SpaceX team had been intimately involved in designing the concept, and Villa is very confident about it. "There do not seem to be any technical issues on this project that we can't solve," he said.
"We look forward to making this a true open-source development."
In August, Musk bragged that the capsules could be shot through a nearly friction-less tube suspended by magnetic levitation. It would go 4,000 miles per hour and would only cost about $6 billion – much less than California's high-speed rail project that is expected to carry passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about three hours. Musk thinks the Hyperloop could go form New York to LA in under an hour.
The ideas and enthusiasm about Hyperloop seem to be abundant, but what about the financial backing? As Musk said, about $6 billion is needed to get Hyperloop up and running, but he so far doesn't appear to be making the level of financial backing he's given to Tesla, SpaceX and the SolarCity renewable energy company. Crowdfunding can usually raise small and medium-sized funds, but can the people pull together $6 billion?