Volocopter, a German startup that has been building and testing electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft, has raised €200 million (about $241 million) in a Series D funding round.
Alongside the aircraft, the company has been developing business cases in which the craft will be used in a taxi-style fleet in urban areas. According to its CEO, Florian Retuer, services could be ready within 2 years for the 2 vehicle models they have been working on.
The executive noted that they expected to certify their VoloCity in a couple of years and begin commercial air cab operations immediately thereafter. Thus, as he explained, Paris wants to have such vehicles by the 2024 Olympics.
As reported by TechCrunch, Volocopter has so far demonstrated its technology in Helsinki, Stuttgart, Dubai, and over Singapore’s Marina Bay. In addition to Europe and Asia, it also wants to launch its services in the US.
These decisions are on the path that had marked the company in previous years when in 2019 it raised an initial $55 million for its Series C, which ended up closing for 94 (about 87 million euros).
The flying cab company’s CFO, Rene Griemens, explained that getting urban aerial mobility off the ground requires a complete ecosystem that they are developing. The executive explained that this is possible thanks to the support of their strategic partners in different parts of the supply chains, which allow them to scale components, enter different markets or improve operations.
The same media outlet explains that the startup has so far raised $390 million, although experts estimate that its valuation is set at $624 million.
However, Volocopter is not the only company currently working on the flying cab concept; Lilum, Joby Aviation, Kitty Hawk, and eHang are also on the market.
However, the German startup claims that, in its case, the technology is no longer the barrier nor the regulators, but in traffic safety, since its bet is to decongest the streets in urban areas and provide an environmental alternative to current modes of transport.
Thus, the latest idea that bets on making the ships autonomous has added more complexity to the project.
The company’s CEO explains that his biggest challenge is the search for talent, as his team is growing by leaps and bounds, especially in the countries where they intend to open their first routes.