Munich air taxi startup becomes unicorn.
Lilium Jet can take off and land vertically on a field smaller than a tennis court, fly for 300 km at 300 km / h with electric motors. All this carrying five passengers with a cost per passenger kilometer equivalent to that of a diesel car, in silence and the absence of vibrations which ensure incomparable comfort, especially when compared with a small plane or a helicopter.
An ideal complement to private jet rental
These specifications are sufficient, in my opinion, to arouse the enthusiasm of investors. In fact the Lilium Jet, which I wrote about here three years ago, seems an ideal complement to private jet rental, to move from the airport to its final destination, downtown or in a more remote location. Not to mention that it could be ideal as a flying taxi, for journeys like Lyon-Marseille or London-Manchester.
Lilium was founded in 2015 by four engineers in Munich. The company’s objective is to offer taxi services in cities with vertical take-off electric aircraft from 2025. A year ago, Lilium’s five-seat prototype completed its first flight. If you think that this is a futuristic project that could fall apart like many others, know that not only wise investors have already invested hundreds of millions in this start-up, but it already has 400 employees, and it continues hiring.
The Who’s Who of technology investors belongs to the investors of Lilium: Baillie Gifford is known as Tesla’s second investor after founder Elon Musk. The Chinese technology group Tencent, the investment company of the princely family of Liechtenstein, the German technology investor Frank Thelen with his company Freigeist and Atomico, the investment fund of the co-founder of Skype Niklas Zennström, have also invested in Lilium. They also made millions available in the last round of funding.
A lot of money
Lilium needs a lot of money to drive the development and ultimately the production of the aircraft with its more than 400 employees, until the taxi service begins to generate income at the earliest in 2025. “The funds gathered during this cycle gives us the security to survive the difficult economic situation that we see around us, “said Lilium CFO Christopher Delbrück in a statement.
It sounds like science fiction. But investors are certain that the Munich taxi startup Lilium’s air taxis will transport passengers across major cities in a few years. So sure they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the vision.
While many startups are struggling to raise enough capital to keep their businesses going in the face of the Corona crisis, Lilium, a company known for the air taxi it developed, made new investments again in a few months. As announced by the Munich startup, the Scottish fund Baillie Gifford is participating in Lilium with 35 million dollars. The startup thus raised a total of $ 275 million in new capital in a few months. As Bloomberg reports, investor valuation of Lilium has reached more than $ 1 billion. These startups are also called unicorns.