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Air taxis are coming (and sooner than you think) 🚁

Air taxis are coming (and sooner than you think) 🚁
March 16, 2021

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The ability for a commuter to take Ubers and Lyfts has been a game-changer, but now ground-bound taxis are facing new competition from the taxis in the air. Flying cars, better known as electric air taxis, are going to mature this decade, according to a study by Morgan Stanley Research. Not only will eVOTL (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) soar to $1.5TR globally by 2040, but we can expect them to be in use by 2025 in New York if we take German startup Lilium’s word. Lilium is planning on bringing its 5-seater taxi-planes that run on electricity and can go up to 200 miles per hour to New York by 2025, which means it would transform an often 1-hr or more nightmare ride from Manhattan to the airport into a 6-minute pleasant experience.

Photo Credit: Lilium

But the trend of personal helicopter travel isn’t novel. In 2020, the world was stunned when LA Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant, together with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 other passengers, crashed and died in a helicopter ride in California. Nonetheless, startups and major automobile/aircraft brands are pushing and scaling the development of taxis for the air at a time when the technology for autonomous vehicles -- including drones and self-driving cars, as well as more efficient batteries and advanced manufacturing -- is making it easier to do so. 

New Phase of Funding
Air mobility is entering a new phase of funding, driven by public acceptance, as public equity investors, as well as numerous rumored or announced SPAC deals, are pouring money into the industry. 

  • Archer was only founded in 2019 but has already wooed the SPAC, Atlas Crest Investment Corp, into a merger that is said will be completed in the second quarter of 2021. According to CNBC, United Airlines has also placed a $1BN order for 200 Archer aircrafts with an option to purchase 100 more later. 
  • Joby Aviation also announced a SPAC merger in February weeks after Archer, with Reinvent Technology Partners, for $1.6BN. The company had previously purchased Uber’s Air Taxi business.
  • Previously mentioned Lilium has been rumored to be in talks to go public via SPAC. The company’s notable backers are Tencent Holdings and Atomico Ventures
  • Blade Urban Air Mobility, although not electric, has been operating urban helicopter travel, late for transporting organs for medical purposes. It announced plans to merge with SPAC, Experience Investment Corp.

Manned and Unmanned
One of the controversies remaining for future electric taxis is whether they are manned or unmanned. While most are going the safe route with manned aircraft, there are challenger startups as well. Kitty Hawk formed a joint venture called Wisk with Boeing Group to develop an all-electric, self-flying air taxi, going straight into unmarked territory. It has completed 1,500 test flights working with NASA, Boeing, and Aurora Flight Sciences.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
502 Companies | 177 Funding Activities | 171 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

ElevateBio raises $525MM led by Matrix Capital Management
Biotechnology • Round C • Waltham, MA

Insitro raises $400MM
Biotechnology • Round C • South San Francisco, CA

Stripe raises $600MM 
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Equity • San Francisco, CA

GoForward raises $225MM co-led by The Founders Fund and Softbank Vision Fund
Health Care Providers • Round D • San Francisco, CA

Valo Health raises $300MM led by Public Sector Pension Investment Board
Biotechnology Software & Internet Services • Round B • Boston, MA

Lineage Logistics raises $1.9BN in funding and $2.8BN in corporate credit
Logistics Services • Equity • Novi, MI

BlockFi raises $350MM led by Bain Capital Ventures
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Equity • Jersey City, NJ raises $40MM from Point72 Asset Management
AI Software & Internet Services • Seed • Palo Alto, CA

Pipe Technologies raises $50MM co-led by Raptor Group Holdings and Siemens Next47
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round A • Los Angeles, CA

Cube Planning raises $10MM led by Mayfield Fund
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round A • New York, NY raises $35MM led by Andreessen Horowitz
Cloud Software & Internet Services • Round B • Boise, ID

SeekOut raises $65MM led by Tiger Global Management
Recruitment Software & Internet Services • Round B • Redmond, WA

Preply raises $35MM co-led by Owl Ventures and Full In Partners
Education Services• Round B • Brighton, MA

M1 Finance raises $75MM led by Coatue Management
Fintech Software & Internet Services • Round D • Chicago, IL

Shango Premium Cannabis, Futureworks, Theraplant, and True Harvest merges with Greenrose Acquisition Corp
Cannabis Drug & Medical Retail • SPAC

The Blackstone Group and Starwood Capital Group acquires Extended Stay America for $6BN
Hotels, Resorts, Casinos & Cruise Lines • Acquisition • Spartanburg, SC

Blend Labs acquires Title365
Insurance Services • Acquisition • Newport Beach, CA

Roche Holding acquires GenMark Diagnostics for $18BN
Health Care Equipment • Acquisition • Pasadena, CA

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