Gresta is happy to have competition to his transport system but doesn’t take kindly to the rival duplicating their identity.
Hyperloop co-founder Bibop Gresta is happy to have healthy competition to his super-fast transport system. But he doesn’t take kindly to the rival duplicating their identity and taking credit for their work.
Competition is good when it enables the competitors to do better. However, in the case of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), a Californiabased startup intending to disrupt the planet’s transport system, competition has created 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 create a market for themselves. Only problem: the similar sounding names have caused confusion not only in media reports, but also while engaging with governments.
Co-founder Bibop Gresta of HTT, which was formed about a year before its rival, is not pleased with the resulting confusion, which he says is “continuous”. In fact, he goes to the extent of accusing Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One (founded by Shervin Pishevar and Borgan BamBrogan) of 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 authorised to use the name Hyperloop because we own the trademark,” Gresta said on the sidelines of a literary event in Mumbai recently.
Competition, not imitation
Gresta, however, says he is open to healthy competition. “Competition is good if it’s done in a correct way,” 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 extremely happy. We need competition to create an industry together,” said Gresta, who travels frequently to meet governments of different countries to set up Hyperloop infrastructure.
Gresta, who is currently based in Abu Dhabi, also pointed out that it was HTT and not Hyperloop One that had signed with the Abu Dhabi government for the concept’s first feasibility study. “I will be happy to work and help anyone who has serious intentions to develop 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 learnt is to make them commit to the project. “I made the mistake of financing [the feasibility project] myself and nothing happened because they didn’t put anything on the table. They [the government bodies] use us as a political tool. I want commitment. I don’t want to lose time. I want to know that if I put something, they put the same. If they don’t make the commitment, you don’t exist on their priority list,” he explained.
The Musk effect
Describing Musk as a ‘genius entrepreneur’, Gresta said that though he was updated on HTT development, Musk didn’t like the co-founders to talk about him. “He’s a big supporter of the project but not involved in any Hyperloop effort. He always pushes us to innovate and break limits,” said Gresta.
Source: The Economic Times
Author: Rashmi Menon