Delft-based Hyperloop startup Hardt has raised 1.25 million euro in a new funding round. Former Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain foot-player Gregory Van der Wiel and the co-founder of the ‘Intuit of the Netherlands’ the company Exact, Paul van Keep, are among the celebrity investors. The sustainable energy fund Enfuro Ventures also participated. The startup raised in 600.000 euro in 2017 from the Dutch railways NS and the proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ.
Hardt is a 2017 spinn-off of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition. An idea he presented in 2013 laying out the audacious goal of getting you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than 30 minutes or in European measures from Amsterdam to Berlin. Essentially by catapulting people or cargo in ‘pods’ in a (almost) vacuum tube at speeds of more than 1000 km/h. Hardt, back then called Delft Hyperloop, became one of the two teams, next to a team of MIT students, to win the competition.
The capital raised will be used for the further development of the technology. One key aim of the startup and all the stakeholders involved is to build a test facility of 5 kilometers in the Netherlands. “Our goal is to build the world’s first high-speed hyperloop test facility in the Netherlands. We can’t do that on our own,” says Tim Houter, co-founder and CEO at Hardt in a statement about the new funding round. “So we are calling on top talents, potential investors, and the business community to join us.”
To this end the startup has already garnered the support of the Dutch parliament for the construction of the test facility in the province of Flevoland. According to a study carried out by the research organisation TNO building such a facility will generate 400 high-end jobs. However, the significant costs, 120 million euro, is what is keeping of what would be the world’s first hyperloop test facility of that size afloat. This test facility is an important first milestone in hyperloop’s chances to succeed. The current test facility is 30 meters long.
“The digital distance between people is progressively decreasing while the physical distance is progressively increasing. But what if distance and time no longer matter? What if you could live and work wherever, whenever and with anyone you want to? These are the questions that inspire us at Hardt,” says Houter.