Flying taxi startup Volocopter extends its Series C to $94 million to usher in a new era of air taxi services
Back in 2017, we wrote about AAA Air Taxi, a Dubai-based flying taxi startup that wants to help you beat the rush hour traffic using copter drones. What a lot of people may not know is that, the startup did not build its own drones. Instead, the Dubai flying taxi was developed by Volocopter, a German aircraft manufacturing startup that’s developing autonomous electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial air taxi services. Just two days ago, Volocopter also teamed up with Grab Volocopter to test air taxi service in Southeast Asia.
Today, Volocopter announced it has raised additional $40 million (€37 million) in extended series C funding led by Logistics group DB Schenker. This brings the Series round total to $94 million (€87 million). Since inception, Volocopter has raised a total of $132 million (€122 million) in funding.
Other new investors include Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, MS&AD Ventures, and Translink Capital (including Japan Airlines and Sompo Japan Insurance). Existing investor Lukasz Gadowski and European venture capital group Btov also supported the current funding round. In conjunction with the funding, Volocopter also said its initial public offering (IPO) is in the works but declined to provide a definitive timeline.
Founded in 2011 by Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf, the Bruchsal, Germany-based Volocopter is the the first manned, fully electric and safe VTOLs in the world. Volocopter is an urban air mobility service provider that builds electric air taxis. The platform is flexible and permits piloted, remote controlled and fully autonomous flight.
Since it was founded in 2011, the young enterprise has set its new milestones in which in 2016 it was granted provisional licensing for a two-seater Volocopter by the German aviation authority and in 2017 the aviation start-up entered into an agreement with RTA Dubai over the global premiere of an autonomously flying air taxi.
With the closing of the Series C funding round, Volocopter announced the appointment of several new members to its advisory board. These include DB Schenker CEO Jochen Thewes; Yifan Li, vice president of Geely Holding Group Company; former Daimler group CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche; and, CAS Software founder Martin Hubschneider. Chinese automotive group Geely and its German subsidiary Daimler invested in the Series A funding round.
“We are convinced that the Volocopter technology has the potential to bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers,” commented Thewes. “DB Schenker has already tested autonomous and electrical vehicles in several innovation projects and in actual operations. By integrating the VoloDrone into our supply chain of the future we will be able to serve our clients’ demand for fast, remote, emission-neutral deliveries.”
On February 18, Volocopter announced it is partnering with consumer app provider Grab is to conduct a joint feasibility study into starting urban air mobility services in Southeast Asia’s largest cities. The study, which is due to be complete within the next few months, will identify the most suitable cities and routes for launching air taxi services and explore prospects for conducting flight trials. It may lead to wider cooperation to launch urban air mobility services.
Below is a video of Volocopter air taxi experience.