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Billionaire Branson named Virgin Hyperloop One chairman

By Sara Shayanian
Billionaire Richard Branson was named chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, weeks after a co-founder stepped down amid sexual misconduct accusations. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/d9c0062b79f461cde1bc1e4878a936d8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Billionaire Richard Branson was named chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One, weeks after a co-founder stepped down amid sexual misconduct accusations. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Billionaire Richard Branson was appointed chairman Tuesday of Virgin's Hyperloop One transport project, just two weeks after co-founder Shervin Pishevar quit amid sexual harassment claims.

Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, invested in the high-tech, high-speed transit system and joined the board of directors in October. The startup was renamed from Hyperloop One to Virgin Hyperloop One.

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"I am excited by the latest developments at Virgin Hyperloop One and delighted to be its new Chairman," Branson said.

"The recent investment by our partners Caspian Venture Capital and DP World sets up the company to pursue opportunities in key markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Russia as it develops game-changing and innovative passenger and cargo ground transport systems."

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The Los Angeles-based company said it raised $50 million from investors Caspian Venture Capital and DP World -- bringing the company's total fundraising pot to $295 million since it started three years ago.

"This investment provides Virgin Hyperloop One with a very robust financial platform for 2018 ahead of our Series C round of fundraising. We are so proud to have investors who consistently step-up to support our company and our vision," Hyperloop CEO Rob Lloyd said.

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Branson's move to chairman comes after Pishevar left his role as executive chairman over accusations that he made inappropriate advances to multiple women.

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Pishevar has denied the charges, and said he resigned to focus on a lawsuit against Definers Public Affairs, a firm he accused of promoting a smear campaign against him.

A hyperloop is a sealed tube system designed to allow people to travel at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour.

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