The new round, led by DP World Groups in Dubai, brings the company’s total funding to $160 million.
Hyperloop One — one of two companies trying to make the high-speed transportation system proposed by Elon Musk — just raised $50 million in a round led by DP World Group of Dubai. The company also announced it brought on a number of key executives including former Uber CFO Brent Callinicos as a strategic advisor to CEO Rob Lloyd.
The investment and the accompanying hire comes weeks after the company struck a deal with the DP World Group of Dubai to create a Hyperloop route that helps transport cargo to and from Dubai’s ports. It also comes weeks after the company was embroiled in a public spat between its top executives, then-co-founder and CTO Brogan Bam Brogan and then-general counsel Afshin Pishevar. Both executives have either been fired or have stepped down from their roles.
To fuel its international ambitions, the company has partnered with some powerful players like Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin, so the startup can’t afford to let lawsuits mar its reputation. The suit involving Bam Brogan alleges the company was riven with nepotism, mismanagement and toxicity and names LLoyd as well as its co-founder Shervin Pishevar.
That’s why bringing on someone like Callinicos is likely important for the company at this time.
Callinicos, who will also serve as the strategic advisor to the company’s board of directors, is a seasoned financial executive who spent a large chunk of his career, from 1992 to 2007, at Microsoft. He then moved to Google, where he stayed for nearly seven years, to be the vice president of treasury and the chief accountant.
Callinicos’s most recent role at Uber — in which Pishevar is an early investor — was his shortest. He joined the company in 2013 and stepped down from his role 2015. At the time, Callinicos said he was leaving to spend more time with his family.
In an email Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent to investors announcing Callinicos’s departure, he described him as one of the “great financial operators in Silicon Valley.”
“Almost 2 years ago, I brought on one of the great financial operators in Silicon Valley as our CFO. Though two years sounds short, Uber was a much smaller startup then — about 1/10th the size we are today. Brent has provided critical leadership to take Uber to the next level as we matured as a company. We have financial systems in place overseeing operations in 53 countries. We have a deep bench of talent poised to help our finance organization grow with the business.”
It’s clear Callinicos brings a certain degree of stability and legitimacy to an executive team shaken by a lawsuit, but we have reached out to the company and Callinicos to get more clarity on his exact role. (You can read Hyperloop One’s response to that lawsuit and more about the lawsuit itself here.)
As the company appeals to both government agencies and private investors, it’s increasingly important to ensure those betting on its success that internal strife won’t threaten their stake.