Dirk Ahlborn is a native Berliner and former investment banker who made it big in Southern California as a startup entrepreneur. He co-founded the online crowdsourcing platform JumpStartFund and is now working on the Hyperloop, a project straight out of a science fiction movie.
The idea is to transport people in a capsule through a vacuum tube at nearly the speed of sound, with scarcely any friction to slow it down. At 1,200 kilometers per hour (750 mph), a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco would take just 30 minutes.
PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk first hatched the Hyperloop idea in 2013, but wants others to make it a reality. Currently three firms are competing to build the first system. The company with perhaps the best chance is Mr. Ahlborn’s Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.
For Mr. Ahlborn, fantastic ideas are never out of reach. The 39-year-old has already received an award as Energizer of the Year for his concept of a climate-protecting energy transition. In an interview, he told Handelsblatt about work on the Hyperloop and its prospects for future travel. Plans are underway to build Hyperloop systems in California, and between Vienna in Austria and Bratislava in Slovakia.