With extensive experience in start-ups, transportation, media, and finance, Bibop G. Gresta is a world renowned speaker, and internationally regarded as one of the foremost experts on Advanced Media and Transportation Technologies. He has been in charge of International mergers and acquisitions, business development, coding and software development; and has served on the boards of several stock listed companies in the UK, Germany and Italy. He sits on the board for several humanitarian projects, is an advocate for Transhumanism and ethical entrepreneurship, is an inventor and patent holder, and is partners with Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and Co-founder of Jump Starter, Inc. Bibop serves as Vice CEO and COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc., where he coordinates a team of 480 engineers in 26 countries which is presently fabricating the first Hyperloop. In television Bibop was host, author and producer of hit programs for several TV networks like MTV and Tmc2. In film, he acted in two mainstream Italian movies, and in radio he toured with Meto Grosso, producing 21 dance-rap records that hit the top 10 several times over his five year tenure.
1) When will we see the famous Hyperloop in action?
We expect to test a full-scale prototype on a five-mile stretch in Quay Valley, a “modern town for the 21st Century” that will be built north of L.A., near Bakersfield. Construction is set to begin next year and be completed at the beginning of 2019. We are expecting to transport 10 million people a year there. After the completion of the first prototype in Quay Valley, we’ll be ready to build a full-scale long track. The bad news is that we don’t see the first full scale to be built in the US. We are targeting a global market, focusing on the countries that have high density of population, inefficient infrastructure, the need for innovation, as well as less restrictive regulations.
2) What would the Hyperloop be for? Is it an alternative to planes?
We’re completely redefining how transportation should be. But we will proceed with extreme pragmatism. HTT’s customers are mostly governments, municipalities and large joint ventures. We’re focusing on two primary markets: passenger and cargo. Government and Municipalities are interested in satisfying the growing demand for efficient, sustainable transportation, but they need a solution that is also profitable. Right now the majority of these infrastructures are subsidized by the state. Even Local and National transportation operators are facing fears of competition with declining margins, and are in need of a profitable alternative. We can be the ones to help.
Think about what we can do for the Ports. Ports are facing growing demand with limited capacities, and therefore have a need to increase throughput speed. Shipping companies are limited by available terminal space. This can be changed with the Hyperloop. The rising need for capacity at airports calls for a solution, one that provides fast, efficient connection to secondary airports, terminals and urban centers. This efficient mode of transportation will change and improve their infrastructure. We therefore don’t see us as a competitor, but as a complement.
We also see an opportunity in real estate. The rising growth of population offers an opportunity for real estate development in satellite cities that need to be connected to the city center in a fast, green, and profitable way. Carriers, Intermodal operators, distribution centers, and mining companies have a need to move freight at a rising speed in order to amplify capacity; and cut down on delivery times in an ever-rising, on-demand economy. The Hyperloop is a perfect solution for that need. We are in advanced discussions with interested parties across several of these industries.
3) Your company, along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks like the future of technology, we will create more technology in next 10 years than we have in the past 50?
The Hyperloop concept started at the end of the 17th century. In 1870 the first prototype was built under the NY Subway. In 1969 the American government disclosed four new ways of transportation, and two of them were basically very similar to what we are going to build with the Hyperloop. When Elon come out with the Hyperloop Alpha Document, he pointed a giant spotlight on this new technology and gave it a name. We were the first to pick up the challenge to globally design, manufacture and build the fastest, safest, most environmentally friendly transportation system of human kind. But we’re just at the beginning. The evolution of that will be simply amazing. By leveraging the technologies that we are developing and using our unique approach on crowdsourcing to find the best talent on the planet, our team of almost 500 experts allows us to bring innovations that will disrupt several industries in the future.
4) Is the difficulty of the Hyperloop underestimated? Some think it is just a very fast train.
What people don’t realize about the Hyperloop is that it’s not about the speed it can reach, it’s about the efficiency. Arrival efficiency will change the way we live and the user experience will be unique. Right now you travel, hoping to arrive as fast as you can, forgetting the joy of travel itself. We’re bringing the travel experience to a new level.
Hyperloop utilizes a combination of alternative energies: Solar, Wind, Kinetic, Regenerative Breaking, and Geo Thermal. Imagine than the environmental impact of this project. While trains require wide swaths of land, fences, are loud, can be safety hazards, and have a higher risk of derailment, the Hyperloop will use existing infrastructure, renewables from its fuel system and will be virtually silent compared to the damaging noise levels of trains. The combination of its unique energy balance as well as the digitalization of transportation, sets the stage for Hyperloop to be profitable in a very short time.
We also designed the safest mode of transportation on the planet. Try to compare us with airplanes: for example, for the San Francisco to Los Angeles route at 13,000 passengers a day round-trip, the flight industry has a rate of .007 fatalities per 100 million miles. That means one expected fatality every 3.75 years. Do you think this is acceptable? We designed safety levels ten times better.
5) What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who want to build a technology business?
I sold my first company when I was 28, writing a page in the history of the Italian new economy. Then I started to invest in startups, and, through my incubator Digital Magics, I invested in 68 companies. During this process, I did three IPOs in Italy, Germany and the U.K. My investments ranged from amusement parks and hotels to media companies. I’ve seen it all!
My best advice to the young entrepreneur is to be stubborn. No matter how crazy your idea is, find people that see the genius in you, and capitalize on the critiques from the people who don’t.
We would like to thank Bibop for speaking with us.