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Hyperloop in acceleration

Program: Ventures Sp. z o.o – GammaRebels powered by Poczta Polska Accelerator

Every day, thousands of courier companies try to deliver parcels on time and meet the expectations of impatient customers. Road infrastructure, weather conditions or the human factor have a significant impact on the timely delivery. How to improve the transport process, increase efficiency and revolutionize the face of Polish logistics? Hyper Poland has decided to accept the challenge and to solve this problem thanks to the use of experimental technology for fast transport of cargo, and in the future – also for people.

Hyper Poland is a pioneer Polish company involved in the development of hyperloop technologies. This concept was popularized by Elon Musk, an American visionary and founder of i.a. Tesla and SpaceX. It assumes driving the vehicle with the help of magnetic levitation, in a tube in which air pressure is low and the air resistance is reduced, which makes travelling very fast with low energy consumption possible. The idea combines both train and plane benefits, thanks to which the journey from Gdansk to Zakopane would last 45 minutes, and from Wroclaw to Warsaw 25 minutes. 

In 2015, Polish proposal of the hyperloop capsule construction gathered good marks and defeated 1200 participants in the first such competition. Further projects were tailored to Polish realities as well as the proposal of the European route Warsaw-Lodz-Wroclaw gained international recognition. All these factors preceded the decision of establishing a company in 2017.

While searching a way to popularize their project and develop it with new sources of financing, such as large clients and State Treasury companies, Hyper Poland took part in the GammaRebels powered by Poczta Polska acceleration program. The accelerator was created as part of Scale UP competition conducted by Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). The initiative resulted in launching 10 accelerators throughout Poland, aimed at combining the potential of beginning, creative entrepreneurs with infrastructure, experience and corporate resources. The activity contributed to the development of over 220 new projects and at least 59 implementations of innovative solutions in the value chains of large companies. In this way, Scale UP completed the offer for small and medium-sized enterprises offered by Start in Poland program. 

Hyper Poland qualified for the accelerator which resulted from the cooperation of HardGamma Ventures with Poczta Polska and Bank Pocztowy. The GammaRebels program focused on logistics issues, work optimization, digitalization of branches but also on financial and marketing innovations. It lasted three month. At that time, Hyper Poland could benefit from a wide support package – up to PLN 200,000 non-returnable funding for development, training and consulting services in the field of intellectual property rights or running a business. Team especially appreciated the direct contact with the management and employees of Poczta Polska or Bank Pocztowy. The company's development was also supervised by a professional mentor with experience gained in Silicon Valley. Progress was reported regularly with the acceleration journal but – which was important for the company – the formalities were reduced to a minimum.

Cooperation with the giant

Hyper Poland counted that work within the accelerator enabled them to adjust the technological concept to the specific logistic needs of Poczta Polska. The first stage resulted in a thorough analysis of all aspects of the business problem. According to Krzysztof Tabiszewski, co-founder and then CEO of the company, the aim of the study was not only to clarify how to improve the competitiveness of Poczta Polska and its financial results, but at the same time how to increase the satisfaction of  both employees customers.

The Hyper Poland team has learned the mechanisms and structures of Poczta Polska inside out. The acceleration program included numerous conversations with employees as well as visits in sorting stations and Shipping-Distributive Centres (WER). This part of the program enabled the team to thoroughly track parcel’s route before it reaches the recipient. Also meetings with the management of Poczta Polska gave a broad view of the company's functioning. This element of the acceleration program allowed to build a bridge between a state-owned company and a technically ground-breaking, launching project.

"Something that would normally seem impossible – a hyperloop technology company meets and talks seriously with Poczta Polska about implementation – it turned out to be real here. Not only companies with large projects on the account, huge budgets or western corporations can offer such solution, but it is also possible for a Polish startup"–  emphasizes Tabiszewski. 

Sketches from logistics of tomorrow

During the second stage of acceleration, startup faced the task of adjusting his technological solutions to the needs of Poczta Polska. The Hyper Poland team decided to design a new vehicle that can be integrated with already existing logistics systems and in line with the best standards. Thanks to the financial and relational support, project consultations were conducted with the usage of comprehensive knowledge from various industries. Also, specialists in mechanics, electric motors, aerodynamics, logistics, hyperloop systems and safety took part in creating a new solution. 

Finally, the Hyper Poland team prepared less expensive project than the American hyperloop proposal but kept most of its advantages. The prepared capsule moves on wheels, but in a tube, which allows achieving a capacity of about 250,000 packages sent daily at a speed of 300 km/h. Thanks to this, it is also possible to make the transmission independent of weather conditions and ensure a trouble-free delivery even in bad weather. Especially during the winter holidays, it guarantees that you will receive your presents on time.

The new project is ready to integrate with current Poczta's systems and to use already gathered experience and procedures. The vehicle can be loaded automatically and the solution is faster and safer for employees. Therefore, the selected diameter of the pipes – 2.5 meters – is more suitable for production capabilities of Polish steelworks. At the same time such mechanism allows to reduce costs when it comes to fulfilling the requirements for cargo shipments and transporting people.

Hyper potential

As the Hyper Poland team emphasizes, the acceleration was a great school of cooperation with a large enterprise. Poczta Polska was surprised by the very high quality and degree of detailed  analyses prepared by the company for the purposes of the program. At the same time, the presented solutions would allow the company to become a global leader in the logistics industry. It was possible to increase the satisfaction of all parties and improved revenue from the segment of small and medium shipments. The implementation of the solution would save up to several million per year. 

Intensive months of acceleration were summarized with Demo Day event, during which Hyper Poland had the chance to convince investors and VC funds. This test proved to be a measure of a successful program and showed that hyperloop technology can be well designed and attractive to business.

As Tabiszewski assesses: – "We are treated seriously after this project. We are no longer just a group of startup guys with a revolutionary vision on a global scale, but a company that cooperated with Poczta Polska. We can say that hyperloop is better not because we think so, but because we have conducted a thorough analysis for one of the largest logistics companies in the country and hard data indicate that it makes sense."

The final stop

Participation in the acceleration program resulted in one more advantage – cooperation with the State Treasury company confirmed that the hyperloop technology fills a gap and it is a response to the needs of modern logistics. The Hyper Poland team has come a long way to the prepared implementation in an extremely short period of time. The combination of financing necessary for growth, knowledge transfer and a unique opportunity to enter the large company ensured dynamic development of the project. It was very valuable to confront the Hyperloop transport assumptions with real data of rail, air and road transport.

The end of acceleration closes a certain stage in the development of the project. However, as Tabiszewski admits, Hyper Poland stays in touch with the appointed mentor also after the end of the program and priceless business contacts open new possibilities. The Scale UP program is just the beginning of the route, but it guarantees a strong acceleration.

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