The Class of 2017 is an exceptional group of graduates, each with her or his own Foster story and takeaways from the program. Our second Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduate feature is Ahmed ElAouty, founder of Pacific Hyperloop, the team of UW students who want to make a 15-minute Seattle to Portland trip a reality. Ahmed will present at the 27th Annual PNWER (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) Summit next week in Portland, where policymakers from all over the region will come together to share advances in infrastructure and transportation.
How did you first get involved with Pacific Hyperloop?
Hyperloop One (California) is developing the technology and they launched a crowdsourcing challenge to select the first regions to use hyperloop tech. I teamed up with an undergraduate in Economics to submit the proposal for Seattle-Portland-Vancouver, BC. Two thousand regions submitted and we were selected as one of 38 semi-finalist teams, one of 12 from U.S. teams.
What is your idea and how is it different from the competition?
Compared to the other U.S. teams, we are the only region that has the aerospace supplier base/cluster that can build the PODs (passenger vehicle).
Where is Pacific Hyperloop now? What challenges do you face?
We are building up the team and preparing our funding package to engage with investors. The most challenging work ahead of us is swaying the minds of policy makers (in Seattle and Olympia) to accept the technology risk and favor hyperloop over high speed rail.
How has the Foster Evening MBA Program helped you in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
The variety of electives at the Foster MBA program helped me customize my curriculum to strengthen my weaknesses. For example, Finance 555 (Financing Decisions, Payout Policy and Corporate Control) armed me with the framework to understand and develop Public-Private Partnerships to fund today’s expensive infrastructure with future cash flows.
What is your best takeaway from the program?
Confidence to take on bigger projects.
What does the future hold for Pacific Hyperloop?
We are building up the founding team to refine the value proposition, execute and eventually seeking funding. The target is to create demand for and win the contract for the local route worth $4-$6 billion. Then we will expand to the global market worth $100 billion.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Helping the region finance the buildup of hyperloop infrastructure between cities and scaling up production of hyperloop PODs.
For more information on Pacific Hyperloop, visit https://www.pacific-hyperloop.com/.
Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at [email protected]