Hyperloop confusion: How competition has created identity crisis for the startup
Competition is overly lovely when it pricks all the competitors to do better subsequently.
However, talking about the Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a California-based startup intending to deface the planet's transport system, competition has brought about identity confusion. Having taken inspiration from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who floated the concept online, HTT and its rival Hyperloop One have been trying to provide a market for themselves. The only problem: the similar sounding names have confused not only with media reports but also while meeting with governments. Bibop Gresta, a co-founder of HTT, which was formed about a year preceding its rival, is not pleased with the resulting disarray, which he says is “continuous.“ Moreover, he went to the extent of accusing Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One which was founded by Shervin Pishevar and Borgan BamBrogan, coming up with a similar sounding name on purpose. “We are the original company, and we also own the Hyperloop brand in 33 countries including India. So, nobody is authorized to use its name, Hyperloop because we own the trademark,“ Gresta added that on the sidelines of a literary occasion in Mumbai recently.
Competition, not imitation
Gresta, however, says he is open to healthy competition. “Competition is good if it's done correctly,“ he said. “Earlier, they called themselves Hyperloop Technologies. Then when I sent them a letter, they changed the name to Hyperloop One. Then the two founders had problems, where they sued each other. Now, there's another company, “he said.
“Finally, the good engineers [referring to BamBrogan] are creating a company called Arrivo, and I am pleased. We need competition and to produce industry together,“ said Gresta, who frequently travels to meet up with governments of different countries to set up Hyperloop structures and infrastructures.
Gresta, who is presently based in Abu Dhabi, also pinpointed that it was HTT and not Hyperloop, one who had signed with the government of Abu Dhabi for the concept's first feasibility study.
“I will be glad to work and assist anyone who has focused motives on developing this ecology; not doing continuous PR stunts,“ he said.
Apart from Abu Dhabi, HTT has been in talks with several states in India. Having repeatedly dealt with governments in different cities, Gresta says the one thing he's learned is to ensure their commitment to the project.
“I made the mistake of funding [the feasibility project] myself, which nothing happened after all since they didn't put anything on the table. They [the government bodies] use us as a political means. I want commitment. I don't want to be behind time. I want to be sure that if I put something, they do just the same. If they don't commit, you don't exist on their priority list," he explained.
The Musk effect
Describing Musk as a 'genius entrepreneur,' Gresta contributed that though he was updated on HTT development; Musk didn't like the co-founders to discuss him. “He's a prominent supporter of the project but not involved in any Hyperloop vision. He always drives us to innovate and break limits, “said Gresta.