The Hyperloop system by Elon Musk is estimated to cost millions of dollars per square mile to build.
But the start-up Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), which aims to break ground on a Hyperloop test track soon enough, has found a great way of keeping the costs to a minimum: By cutting down the salaries of each and every member of the company to zero, and that extends as far as the CEO Dirk Ahlborn.
The employees for at least 10 hours a week during their off-hours from their full-time jobs in exchange for a stake in the company instead. Under this model, the company has arranged for a team of over 400 people and several industry partners working for Hyperloop at the moment, Ahlborn told Business Insider.
While it certainly is not a percent example of conventional model, HTT has enabled the company to turn the heads of some of the best talent because people can keep their day jobs while also working for HTT when they can, Ahlborn said.
“We are working with almost everybody who is interested and wants to join us and receive their part of the company,” Ahlborn said. “We have amazing team members with amazing backgrounds from psychologists and lawyers to people who worked on Mars Rover and that were part of the Manhattan Project…We are probably the largest startup, depending on how you define startup, in the country or in the world.”
JumpStartFund, which is a crowd collaboration platform which lets HTT share its progress with the public and attract potential investors. Employees still make use of the platform to share their progress.
While the company’s model of working for equity continues, Ahlborn said as the company makes progress its business model will begin to evolve.