A start-up developing a version of the speedy transportation system known as the hyperloop has added to its well-stocked team.
On Wednesday, Hyperloop Technologies Inc. named Rob Lloyd, former president of Cisco Systems Inc., as its chief executive, and named former Snapchat Inc. chief operating officer Emily White as a board of directors “observer.” Lloyd also invested in the company.
Resembling a train, but one stuffed in a tube, a hyperloop could reduce energy consumption, costs, travel time and safety risks. Travel speeds might reach 750 mph between cities, with electric propulsion probably coming through renewable energy sources. Entrepreneur Elon Musk popularized the concept in a research paper two years ago.
Hyperloop Technologies publicly launched in March, announcing that early SpaceX employee Brogan BamBrogan had joined with several prominent tech and political leaders to raise more than $8 million to get going.
The heavy hitters include President Obama’s former deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina; X Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis; and Silicon Valley venture capitalists Shervin Pishevar and Joe Lonsdale.
The Los Angeles start-up, based at a design, manufacturing and testing campus that covers three acres in the Arts District, is one of several groups seeking to overcome engineering and regulatory hurdles to build hyperloops worldwide.
Lloyd said he became a believer after he saw the company’s progress.
At Cisco, he pushed expansion into video, cloud computing and other emerging business lines made possible by the Internet. He retired in June after he was a surprise snub for the CEO job.
Now he said he plans to take on a new network.
“A network that doesn’t carry bits but transports atoms -- people and things -- all around the world,” he said. “The customers we’ll serve will be governments, enterprises, transportation companies, and I have been doing business with them for 15 years.”
The opportunity came out of the blue. In early June, Lloyd had texted Pishevar a photo of a meal he bought through a start-up that Pishevar invested in. Within a couple of texts, Pishevar extended an offer. Lloyd’s kids were definitely on board.
“My four sons all think this is so cool that I am joining Hyperloop,” he said.
FOR THE RECORD
12:10 p.m.: An earlier version of this article stated that said Rob Lloyd texted Shervin Pishevar in December. They communicated in early June.
Hyperloop Technologies hopes to build a two-mile test loop by early 2017 and is considering a short list of locations, mostly in California. BamBrogan, who had been the interim leader, will focus on technology development at the 50-person company.
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