Lilium raises $35 million to accelerate flying taxi development

Lilium, the German aviation startup getting down to bring flying taxis to the skies by 2025, has added an extra $35 million to its pot, taking its sequence C spherical of funding to round $275 million following the preliminary funding it introduced back in March. An individual aware of the matter confirmed that this extension has now nudged the corporate into much-covered “unicorn territory, with a valuation in extra of $1 billion.

The most recent money injection was made fully by Baillie Gifford, a Scottish funding agency that has beforehand backed firms together with Tesla, SpaceX, Amazon, and Airbnb, and it comes at a turbulent time for the transport trade. The COVID-19 disaster has hit ride-hail services, with Uber having to adapt its enterprise and put its huge transport community to other uses; in the meantime, scooter and bike transport investments have surged as cities reclaim roads from vehicles to make extra room for pedestrians and cleaner private transport. For an organization akin to Lilium, this transition may very well be congruous to its plans, although Lilium’s competitors is extra prone to be intercity transport akin to trains and buses.

“If something, the transfer to extra sustainable modes of transport highlights the general public urge for food for a change in the best way we journey,” a Lilium spokesperson instructed VentureBeat. “That stated, our focus shouldn’t be on providing journeys inside one metropolis, however fairly connecting cities, cities, and villages with one another. With a spread of 300km we’re capable of join whole areas, bringing high-speed connectivity to locations that don’t have it, with out the necessity for costly infrastructure.”

Based out of Munich in 2015, Lilium is constructing compact all-electric jets that take off and land vertically, with area for a driver and 4 passengers. This bypasses the necessity for costly, space-consuming runways, and touchdown pads might be positioned in any city surroundings, together with rooftops and quaysides. Prospects beckon a trip by an Uber-style cellular app.

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Above: Lilium Touchdown Pad (Mockup)

Furthermore, provided that Lilium’s focus lies squarely in native regional journey, this positions it nicely for a world the place cross-border motion could also be extra frictional. That is significantly notable at a time when many firms within the aviation trade are on the brink of collapse.

Lilium stated that it has managed to stay absolutely operational all through the pandemic, with a lot of the firm working remotely — and most of its key longer-term timescales stay unchanged. “We’re lucky that we’re at a stage of our improvement the place a lot [of our] work might be achieved from house, as it’s centered on the event of our eventual serial plane,” the spokesperson stated. “Whereas COVID-19 can have some impression on timescales inside this yr, we stay on monitor for beginning business operations in 2025. We additionally acknowledge that we’re lucky to have important funding secured, given the challenges dealing with the aerospace market in the meanwhile.”

Different firms working towards an analogous future embody fellow German startup Volocopter, which lately closed a fresh $40 million investment, taking its complete funding to $132 million, and touted a possible IPO.

With one other $35 million within the financial institution, Lilium has now raised greater than $375 million since its inception, and it’s well-financed to proceed constructing its Lilium Jet and put together for the “serial manufacturing” at its new manufacturing hub in Germany that it unveiled last year.

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