It’s probably no surprise that billionaire Richard Branson is going to be taking a more active role in Virgin Hyperloop One, considering the company adopted the “Virgin” moniker after Branson’s global co. became a key backer earlier this year. Now, Axios reports that he’ll be made chairman of the company, as it takes on an additional $50 million in funding to help it keep moving towards its goal of building super-speed, near-vacuum tube train transit.
Branson stepping into the chair role comes as one of its board co-chairs, investor and co-founder Shervin Pishevar, has been removed from the company (as well as from his own investment firm) following allegations of sexual harassment levied against him. Branson already held a board seat following Virgin Group’s investment in Hyperloop One and the rebranding, and Axios says his installation as chair helped pave the way for the new $50 million raise, which comes from existing funders Caspian Venture Capital and DP World.
The funding was timely for Virgin Hyperloop One, according to the report, which says that the company was running pretty low on available funds, putting employment of some of its staff at risk. Building a working hyperloop is obviously a cash-intensive process, and one that’s still likely at least a few years away from being a revenue-generating operation, so it’s natural to expect it to require a steady stream of inbound venture cash to keep things humming away.