Miami will join Los Angeles as a launch market for eVTOL developer Archer, which plans to certify and bring its yet-to-be-unveiled Maker aircraft to market by 2024.
Nikhil Goel and Mark Moore, two leading figures in urban air mobility (UAM) and authors of Uber’s watershed Elevate paper, also joined the company’s advisory board. Additional members of the board are expected to be announced soon.
Mayor Francis Suarez, known for working to attract key tech talent and investment to move from Silicon Valley to Miami, tweeted on March 1 that he had met with Archer co-founders Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein — along with Goel — to discuss bringing UAM to the South Florida city.
“We know that infrastructure and transportation solutions in Southern Florida must change over the next decade to curb carbon emissions, decrease traffic, and create the multimodal transportation networks of the future,” Suarez said. “The city of Miami is dedicated to collaborating with Archer to build one of America’s first UAM networks and work towards overcoming the geographical challenges of our water-locked areas currently only accessible via congested roadways.”
Archer announced last month it plans to combine with blank-check acquisition firm Atlas Crest Investment Corp. (ACIC) to become a publicly listed company, receiving $1.1 billion in gross proceeds to continue development and certification of its aircraft. United Airlines also conditionally agreed to purchase $1 billion worth of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft, joining automaker Stellantis — formerly Fiat Chrysler and Groupe PSA — as a key partner for the startup.
According to an S-4 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the proposed merger, Tom Muniz was recently promoted from Archer’s vice president of engineering to chief operating officer and given a seat on the company’s board. Muniz previously spent almost 10 years in various roles at Kitty Hawk and Wisk, including vice president of engineering at both companies.
ACIC’s S-4 filing also indicates Archer’s founding team, Adcock and Goldstein, will be subject to a six-month lock-up on their shares of the combined company; the most recent round of private investors in the company, who contributed $600 million to the deal, are not subject to any lock-up on their shares. However, with the vast majority of that money coming from funds with traditionally long investment horizons, like Mubadala Capital and Access Industries, that may not matter.
With funding secured to hopefully steer the company through certification and initial manufacturing, Archer announced Los Angeles as its first launch market last month before adding Miami as its second. Neither city partnership includes much detail at this point on who will operate the aircraft, where network nodes will be located, or how funding for infrastructure projects will be sourced.
“Our collaboration with Miami will bring quick, safe, affordable everyday flight to Southern Florida,” said Adam Goldstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer. “Launching an urban air mobility network in Florida is particularly exciting for Brett and I personally as graduates of the University of Florida. We named Archer after our first eVTOL R&D lab, based just off Archer Road in Gainesville . . . so making an impact on Florida’s transportation issues will be a great full circle moment for us.”
Goel and Moore, the only known members of Archer’s advisory board at this time, did not transition to Joby Aviation after the competing eVTOL developer acquired Uber Elevate in December of last year. Joby also intends to go public via merger with blank-check company Reinvent Technology Partners.