by Michael Willoughby
Volocopter, the German Urban Air Mobility company, has signed the first closing of its Series C funding round, led by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding).
The new funds will be used towards bringing the VoloCity aircraft to commercial launch within the next three years. Volocopter remains in discussions with additional investors for a second closing around year-end. The first closing will increase the total capital that Volocopter has raised to EUR 85 million.
Volocopter builds electrically powered air taxis to get people safely and directly to their destination. The aim is to save people time and to help megacities transform their transportation systems towards a more sustainable future by adding a new mobility option for their citizens. Since its foundation in 2011, the company has built three generations of Volocopter aircraft, two of which received licenses for manned and unmanned flight with a total funding of EUR 35 million. The company has performed numerous public demonstrations of the viability of electrically powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), most recently it successfully completed a flight at Helsinki International Airport.
“Urban mobility needs to evolve in the next few years to meet rising demand. With our Volocopter air taxis, we are adding a whole new level of mobility in the skies,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “This funding round is allowing us to take great strides towards bringing Urban Air Mobility to life whilst being respectful of our shareholder’s money.”
Geely Holding, the privately-owned automotive group from China which has a portfolio of global brands including Geely Auto, Volvo Cars, and Lotus, as well as other automotive brands, led the Series C funding round. Geely Holding becomes a minority investor in Volocopter, next to existing strategic investors like Daimler. The founders, Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel both individual shareholders, jointly remain the company’s largest shareholder.
Geely Holding highlights the strategic cooperation potential with Volocopter. The companies have agreed to enter into a joint venture to bring Urban Air Mobility to the significant Chinese market. Li Shufu, Geely Holding Chairman, said: “Geely is transitioning from being an automotive manufacturer to a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies. Our latest cooperation with Daimler, building on our partnership in smart and premium ride-hailing services, as well as our joint venture with Volocopter underlines our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services.”
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG: “We are delighted to see our partners at Geely investing into Volocopter and becoming shareholders as we are since 2017. Daimler is committed to supporting innovative new mobility services. One exciting example is Volocopter and the idea of urban air transport.”
Volocopter anticipates a second closing of the Series C towards the end of the year. The company is in advanced discussions with both strategic and financial investors for such second closing and remains open to new investors. Volocopter will put the funds towards receiving commercial certification by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) for their VoloCity aircraft.
Just recently Volocopter presented the design for VoloCity, its new air taxi, which has been created according to the specifications put forward by EASA. Volocopter performed a piloted flight integrated in the air traffic management system at Helsinki International Airport in late August, thus proving the compatibility of air taxis with existing air traffic management solutions. Later this year the Urban Air Mobility pioneer will present its VoloPort air taxi landing infrastructure at the ITS WC in Singapore, from 22 – 25 October 2019 in Singapore.
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