Virgin Hyperloop Aims to Get Angelenos to San Francisco in 45 Minutes — Within the Decade

Breanna De Vera

Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.

Virgin Hyperloop Aims to Get Angelenos to San Francisco in 45 Minutes — Within the Decade

Forty-five minutes in traffic won't get you very far in Los Angeles. But Virgin Hyperloop estimates it will be able to get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in that time.

The Richard Branson-owned company unveiled its hyperloop concept video Wednesday, just two months after the company's first tested its design with passengers. Traveling several hundred miles per hour in a pressurized tube is no longer a vision of the far-distant future — Virgin Hyperloop engineers want to make it a reality in less than 10 years.


These renderings put it yet another step ahead of The Boring Company, led by Elon Musk, who published his "alpha paper" plans for hyperloop travel in 2013.

Virgin Hyperloop plans to achieve safety certification by 2025 and begin commercial operations in 2030.

"Daily high-speed transport is currently not feasible for most people, but we want to change that notion," said Virgin Hyperloop chief executive Jay Walder in a statement. "Imagine being able to commute between cities that are currently hours apart in minutes – and the endless possibilities that open up."

Virgin Hyperloop Passenger Experience

The almost three-minute video opens with a rendering of the station, a bustling transit center filled with natural light and complemented with indoor and outdoor greenery, a nod at the more efficient and eco-friendly transportation form hyperloop could be. A Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) study last year found that a hyperloop connection between Columbus, Chicago and Pittsburgh could reduce carbon dioxide emission by 2.4 million tons. It suggested making fares closer to the cost of driving than to a pricier plane ticket.

Walder said an affordable ticket would be key to making the concept a success. Virgin Hyperloop estimates its system would be able to transport thousands of passengers per hour by convoying them, as pods are able to ride directly behind each other in the hyperloop, magnetically suspended from touching each other and controlled by the company's machine intelligence software.

The Los Angeles-based company worked with several partners to design disparate aspects of the transportation experience. The video's white-walled portal to enter the pod were designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and the pods themselves were designed by Teague.

SeeThree worked on the video and animations and Man Made Music provided the score and sonic identity — the additional sound assets in the film that audiences will associate with the hyperloop.

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Venture Firm BackStage Capital Reduces Staff to 3 Employees

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Venture Firm BackStage Capital Reduces Staff to 3 Employees
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Venture firm Backstage Capital laid off nine employees, reducing its staff to just three.

Managing partner and founder Arlan Hamilton announced the layoffs Sunday on her “Your First Million” podcast. General partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis, along with Hamilton, are the only remaining employees, TechCrunch reported. The move comes only three months after the Los Angeles-based firm said it would only fund existing portfolio companies.

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A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis
Image by Carolyn Figel

The pandemic exacerbated a problem that has been long bubbling in the U.S.: the childcare crisis.

According to a survey of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers conducted by the city’s WiSTEM Los Angeles program and shared exclusively with dot.LA, the pandemic exposed a slew of challenges across STEM fields. The survey—which consisted of 181 respondents from L.A.County and was conducted between March 2021 and 2022— involved respondents across medical fields, technical professions and science industries who shared the pandemic’s effects on their professional or education careers.

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MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund
Courtesy of MaC Venture Capital

While venture capital funding has taken a hit this year, that hasn’t stopped MaC Venture Capital from raising $203 million for its second fund.

The Los Angeles-based, Black-led VC firm said Monday that it had surpassed its initial $200 million goal for the fund, which dot.LA reported in January, over the span of seven months. MaC said it expects to invest the capital in up to 50 mostly seed-stage startups while remaining “sector-agnostic.”

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