Elon Musk's Boring Company raises $113 million to dig tunnels

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Elon Musk announced The Boring Company will be selling new merch. This time it’s “life-size” LEGO-like interlocking bricks,”made from tunneling rock.” Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.
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SAN FRANCISCO — As publicity stunts go, raising money by selling flame throwers is tough to beat. 

But when it comes to real fundraising, Elon Musk has opted to dig in the old fashioned way: by raising capital from investors for his tunnel-burrowing enterprise, The Boring Company.

Musk’s latest enterprise raised $113 million from 31 unnamed investors, according to a Monday filing with Securities and Exchange Commission.

But it seems the company didn’t have to look far for funding. According to the company, the bulk of the sum was provided by Musk — the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX — with the rest coming from early Boring Company employees.

So what will $113 million buy Musk? The filing doesn’t say, but it’s not a longshot to guess it would go towards drilling more tunnels for a futuristic transportation concept commonly called hyperloop.

Tunneling isn’t cheap. Consider that a giant Japanese-built tunnel boring machine dubbed Big Bertha recently clawed its way underneath Seattle for 1.7 miles over the course of four years. That monster cost $80 million. 

Musk has said that his tunnels will be made more efficiently and less expensively in part because the width of the tunnels required is around 12 feet, or about one-fifth of Bertha’s tunnel width. 

Musk has also said that his approach eliminates the costly and complex entry and exit points that traditional tunnels require, since pedestrians will be lowered and raised from the tunnel by elevators. 

Founded in late 2016, the archly named business was born out of Musk’s frustration with traffic around his Los Angeles home.

Last summer, Maryland officials said they had granted The Boring Company permits to tunnel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., but Musk signaled that he wasn’t quite ready to move forward.

Since then, Musk has altered the company’s initial mission, which was to provide cars with sleds that would cart the vehicles at high speeds underground. In March, Musk tweeted out an animation showing bus-like devices that lower from sidewalks to tunnels below ground. 

“Will still transport cars, but only after all personalized mass transit needs are met,” Musk tweeted. “It’s a matter of courtesy fairness. If someone can’t afford a car, they should go first.”

Musk earlier raised around $10 million for The Boring Company by selling 20,000 flame throwers at $500 a pop. 

Follow USA TODAY tech writer Marco della Cava on Twitter.

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