Volocopter Now Funded Through eVTOL Certification
German urban air mobility (UAM) startup Volocopter has secured an additional $182 million in funding, with Saudi Arabian smart city Neom and Hong Kong-based GLy Capital Management as new investors.
The second tranche of Series E funding takes the total raised to date to more than €600 million ($595 million), with the exact number to be announced when the financing round closes.
Funding raised so far is enough to take the VoloCity electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) urban air taxi beyond certification, now expected in early 2024, Volocopter says. The company plans to launch service in Singapore, Rome, Paris and Neom, a development on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia.
The piloted two-seat VoloCity made its first flight in December and is being flown uncrewed as Volocopter expands the flight envelope. The next aircraft are in production, the company says, which is also test flying the longer-range, four-seat VoloRegion, previously named the VoloConnect.
Volocopter is also developing the VoloDrone uncrewed logistics aircraft, VoloPort modular vertiports and VoloIQ digital backbone for its air taxi operations.
While most of its rivals have raised money by going public through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), Bruchsal-based Volocopter has elected to stay private. Investors include automakers Daimler and Geely as well as Atlantia and Honeywell.
“Raising over $180 million despite the generally tense economic climate highlights Volocopter’s robust technology strategy and its ongoing progress toward achieving market readiness,” Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer, says in a statement.
Volocopter and Neom in December 2021 signed an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) to integrate the VoloCity and VoloDrone into the smart city’s public transport system. GLy is backed by Chinese carmaker Geely, which has a JV with Volocopter to operate urban air taxis in China.
Having acquired German composite aircraft manufacturer DG Flugzeugbau in 2021, Volocopter is gearing up to manufacture its eVTOL aircraft. “Long term, we will likely work with partners such as Geely or Daimler as well to manufacture at several sites,” the company says.