When we reported earlier this month that Hyperloop One’s co-founder and then CTO Brogan BamBrogan was stepping down, there weren't many details on what led to the sudden leadership change. BamBrogan had been with the company for about two years and previously spent nearly ten years at SpaceX, holding the title of Sr. Staff Engineer upon leaving in 2013. So why would Hyperloop One let such an experienced engineer go, especially one that had been with the company since the beginning?
Well, we seem to have found out.
Yesterday, news broke that BamBrogan had filed a lawsuit against Hyperloop One, alleging, among other things, wrongful termination and assault (it’s reported that a noose was left on his chair after an especially heated meeting). Although the validity of these claims can’t be verified as of now, the suit does not paint a pretty picture of what work-life is like at the up-and-coming transportation company.
Lawsuits seem to be almost commonplace when it comes to startups working on potentially groundbreaking tech. Facebook, for example, saw its fair share of legal issues early on, as did Snapchat. Startups are notoriously stressful to operate, which can lead to a lot of internal conflict. Along with the potential massive upside for investors of these companies comes the possibility that something like this happens, which at best derails the budding startup temporarily, and at worst causes it to implode.
Hyperloop One has secured about $100 million of venture capital in total, and was valued at $239 million with a $93 million raise in May. Investors in the company include Khosla Ventures, Formation 8 and Sherpa Capital, whose co-founder and managing director Shervin Pishevar is also a co-founder and executive chairman at Hyperloop One.