Flying cars may not yet be commonplace, but investors are betting on Volocopter GmbH to bring its air taxi to market with $182 million (U.S.) in the second signing of its Series E funding round. The Bruschal, Germany-based company said the financing “will carry the company beyond the certification of its electric passenger aircraft, the VoloCity air taxi.”
“Sustainable mobility is a tremendous challenge facing today’s world,” said Volocopter. It said it offers fully electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft built specifically for urban air mobility (UAM) missions.
Volocopter said it has more than 10 years of development experience and has conducted over 1,500 successful test flights. The company claimed that it is the first eVTOL company to receive Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
With an ecosystem approach that connects key global players in the emerging UAM market, Volocopter said it has developed multipurpose electric aircraft and the supporting physical and digital infrastructure. VoloCity is its air taxi service, VoloRegion is its longer-range plan for connecting cities and suburbs, and VoloDrone is for transporting goods.
The company said VoloPort will be its transport hub, and VoloIQ is an app that will run on Microsoft Azure “offering full transparency for the complex urban air mobility ecosystem in real time.”
Saudi smart city invests in Volocopter
Volocopter became a strategic partner with investor Neom in December 2021. Neom is a smart city or “cognitive region project” being built in Saudi Arabia.
The joint venture plans to integrate the VoloCity air taxi and the VoloDrone into Neom's sustainable and connected mobility systems. It will also design and operate the region's all-electric public flight routes for the first seven years after launch.
“At Neom, we strongly believe in the potential for urban air mobility to provide a new dimension to future integrated transport systems,” said Florian Lennert, head of mobility at Neom. “Building on our successful collaboration with Volocopter, we are excited to strengthen our partnership and to make a strategic investment in the future of mobility.”
“We believe Volocopter is the best partner to build an advanced air mobility ecosystem in Neom,” he added. “We look forward to realising this exciting mission jointly with Volocopter and its global partners.”
GLy Capital to help bring air taxis to China
Hong Kong-based GLy Capital Management has also joined Volocopter’s investor base. GLy is backed by Geely Holding, a long-term partner of Volocopter. In their joint venture, Geely and Volocopter aim to bring UAM to China. With its high density of megacities, the companies said they expect China to become one of the largest markets for electric air taxis.
“Volocopter’s vision encompasses industrial short- and medium-range commercial passenger applications to bring efficiency to the way we move around our cities,” said Hrvoje Krkalo, co-CEO of GLy Capital. “I look forward to supporting their journey; a journey that promises to be exciting, safe, and scenic in equal measure.”
“Attracting NEOM And GLy as investors is a great success and highlights our pole position in the commercial certification race,” stated Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter. “This is the key requirement to launching commercial operations and starting to generate revenue.”
“Raising over $180 million despite the generally tense economic climate highlights Volocopter’s robust technology strategy and its ongoing progress toward achieving market readiness,” added Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer of Volocopter. “We appreciate the remarkable spirit of collaboration and the trust that our existing and new shareholders have placed in us as we forge ahead on our journey to bring the urban air mobility ecosystem to life.”
With many interested companies having passed the due diligence phase, Volocopter said its Series E funding round remains open. It previously raised $170 million in that round in March.
The company expects to launch its first commercial air taxi routes in the next two years in cities such as Singapore, Rome, Paris, and the Neom region.