The Boring Company, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s project to build underground highways to alleviate traffic congestion, has raised a $675 million Series C round, bringing its valuation up to $5.7 billion.
The round was led by Vy Capital and Sequoia Capital, with participation from Valor Equity Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC, Craft Ventures, and DFJ Growth. The company says it will use the funds to significantly increase hiring across engineering, operations and production in order to build and scale Loop projects and accelerate the research and development of Prufrock, the company’s next generation tunnelling machine.
In October, The Boring Company (TBC) received initial approval to build a transportation system that would shuttle passengers in Tesla vehicles via a network of tunnels under Las Vegas beyond its current 1.7 mile footprint that currently connects the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) campus to a 29-mile route that would hit all the best tourist spots in the city of sin. Operation on the updated Vegas loop should commence this year, according to the company.
While the announcement hints at other Loop projects in the works, TBC has not yet stated whether it is pursuing other projects. However, the company does mention that with increased boring speed, this type of transportation architecture can be applied to inter-city, or what TBC refers to as Hyperloop.
That’s where improvements to Prufrock come in, an automated mining machine that can tunnel continuously and without humans on the ground in the tunnels. The current iteration, Prufrock-2, can mine at 1 mile per week, according to TBC. The company boasts that a tunnel the length of the Vegas Strip, which is about four miles, can be completed in a month.
The next generation, Prufrock-3, is designed to tunnel at seven miles per day.
“In the short term, if each Prufrock-2 mines at 1 mile/week, and TBC produces 1 new Prufrock machine per month, then TBC will be introducing 600 miles/year of capacity,” the company said in a statement. “As a point of reference, less than 20 miles of underground subway tunnel has been constructed in the United States in the last 20 years.”