"Flying taxi" startup Volocopter has raised another $241 million in financing, saying that the service has been two years - Techdap -->

"Flying taxi" startup Volocopter has raised another $241 million in financing, saying that the service has been two years

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

"Flying taxi" startup Volocopter has raised another $241 million in financing, saying that the service has been two years

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After the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of passengers on public transportation on planes, trains and buses has decreased, and one of the startups that hopes to take the lead in adopting a new method to transfer individuals from A to B-by taxi-raised Some large sums of money.

Volocopter is a startup company in southern Germany (especially in the state of Brussal) that has been manufacturing and testing electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and raised 200 million euros (approximately US$241 million) in a D round of financing. In addition to airplanes, Volocopter has been building a business case for using its ships in taxi-style fleets in urban areas. CEO Florian Reuter told us that real-time services have been phased out for two years for the two models under development.

He said: “We actually expect to certify our VoloCity in about two years and then start commercial air taxi operations immediately.” “Paris and Singapore are in the lead (as the first cities), and Paris hopes to build electric vehicles there. Air taxis to meet the needs of the 2024 Olympics. We hope to use VoloDrone for the first commercial flight earlier than VoloCity." 

To date, Volocopter has demonstrated its technology in flights over the Marina Bay in Helsinki, Stuttgart, Dubai and Singapore. 

In addition to Europe and Asia, it also hopes to launch services in the United States. In some cases, this is basically in line with the company’s previous expectations: in 2019-when Volocopter raised $55 million in initial funding for Series C (finally completed with 87 million euros, or approximately $94 million)-the company Indicates that it has been three years since the service.

The latest (oversubscribed) Series D investments include investments from financial and strategic supporters. BlackRock-managed funds; global infrastructure company Atlantia S.p.A. Avala Capital; auto parts giant Continental AG; Japan's NTT through its venture capital arm; Japanese leasing company Tokyo Century; multiple family offices are new investors, and so on. Volocopter also stated that all its existing investors (including Geely, Daimler, DB Schenker, Intel Capital, btov Partners, Team Europe and Klocke Holding, etc.) also contributed to the round of financing.

The company's chief financial officer, Rene Griemens, said that if this sounds like a large list, it must be intentional, because the tasks of "Volocopter" are complex and require a wide ecosystem of other participants.

"To make urban air mobility off the ground requires the complete ecosystem we are developing now. Many of our strategic partners will support us in all aspects of the supply chain, expanding components, entering the market, and improving operations. Most of them are very familiar with certain aspects of our business model (e.g. Japan Airlines, Air Atlanta Infrastructure)," he said. "Their investment reflects their excitement about Volocopter as a leader in building the entire UAM ecosystem, thereby providing credibility and comfort to pure financial investors."

He added that many of these companies have established very "close partnerships" with Volocopter. "For example, DB Schenker is working with us to launch a leading heavy-duty power logistics drone on a global scale."

The company has now raised nearly $390 million. We requested an update of the valuation, but in some cases, PitchBook data estimated its current valuation to be $624 million.

Moonshots and sunsets

Established in 2011, Volocopter has been committed to its concept-a very wide circular design (located in the position of the rotor on the helicopter) is different-throughout the decade, in many ways, this is the moon landing in action Classic concept.

It hasn't made money yet, and the products it is making are groundbreaking-so to speak, completely flying into the unknown-so ultimately untested.

It is not the only company dedicated to the "flying taxi" concept, there are other companies with strong capital such as Lilum, Joby Aviation, Kitty Hawk and eHang.

However, all of these face obstacles, from investor lawsuits to bankruptcies, accidents, blocked projects and divestments (perhaps most notably, last year, as Uber got rid of expensive moon landing plans, Joby (Jobyy) snapped up Elevate).

Most importantly, none of them have conducted commercial flights yet. With Volocopter (like other products), investors are here for a long time betting on concepts and teams that it believes can be delivered.

Currently, the company says that technology is no longer an obstacle, and it seems that it is no longer a regulator. In a pandemic, regulators are more focused on considering new ways to solve old problems to improve efficiency, and recognizes that we may have to take action. After the public health and the public put forward new requirements, there is almost no difference from the current situation.

As far as the VTOL process is concerned, it is always hoped that they can bypass many of the problems of street congestion in urban areas and provide more environmental alternatives to the transportation modes of today's fuel-intensive consumers.

On the other hand, the challenge is to determine the safety of brand new equipment, as well as the safety of the traffic and other systems under which they will operate. Given that these spacecraft will eventually be autonomous, this adds another complex change.

Interestingly, regulators in different markets who may be skeptical of new concepts now seem to be more willing to consider them differently in the face of a pandemic. This situation has also played a role in other areas. For example, the electric scooter market in the UK made a temporary nod last year after the regulators were skeptical for a long time, citing the pandemic and hitting the country.

Volocopter's model is based on the situation of transporting a person or a small party, so in a sense, this is also attractive to some extent.

Retuer said: "As far as the technology itself is concerned, there are no longer any major obstacles." "Now everything is related to implementation. EASA defines the necessary conditions for electric air taxis to obtain the highest level of aviation certification. We have the best on the market. The technology can be certified in accordance with EASA’s high security standards, and we will go all out to complete the remaining steps of certification."

Instead, he said, other challenges remain the challenges of any high-tech company: "Our biggest challenge right now is talent development," he said. "We are looking for the best talents in the world, and are now rapidly growing our team so that we can speed up the pace of technology and market development. Especially in markets where we will open up early routes, such as Paris, Singapore, China and Japan , We are preparing everything necessary from digital infrastructure to landing sites, city approvals and so on at full speed."


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