The multinational corporation that runs transportation and aerospace firms, such as Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic, invested an undisclosed amount in Hyperloop One, which shall henceforth be known as Virgin Hyperloop One.
As part of the deal, Branson will join the board of the California startup, which will be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One in the coming months, according to a joint statement.
The Hyperloop is a nascent transportation system that works by shooting pods through a vacuumed-sealed tube at speeds that experts say could reach 700 miles per hour.
Richard Branson is testing technology for a "hyperloop" train he says could reduce journey times between Edinburgh and London to 50 minutes.
The pod quickly lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and glides at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag. Branson noted in a blog post that he also visited Hyperloop One earlier this summer to view its technology first-hand, at the Hyperloop One DevLoop test track site in Nevada outside Los Vegas. "I was very impressed and now look forward to helping turn this cutting edge engineering into a global passenger service".
Before we can fly through vacuum tubes at almost the speed of sound, however, hyperloop technologies will need to advance quite a bit.
'From our airlines to our trains to our spaceline, we have always been passionate about innovation in transport too, especially the development of technology that could transform people's lives. This is just the latest example.
Virgin's plan is to focus on using Hyperloop One to transport passengers and cargo.
'The maximum distance travelled is 436 metres, with a peak acceleration of 1.48 Gs - equal to 0 to 60mph in 1.85 seconds.
"Virgin Hyperloop One are leading the way in these efforts", he continued, noting that the company is "working on exciting projects in the Middle East, Europe, India, Canada, and the U.S.".