By Brian Garrett-Glaser

As the managing editor of eVTOL.com, Brian covers the ecosystem emerging around eVTOLs and urban air mobility. Follow him on twitter @bgarrettglaser.

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It’s official: Joby Aviation acquires Uber Elevate, including $75 million in new funding

Joby Aviation has acquired Uber Elevate in a deal that continues the partnership between the eVTOL manufacturer and the mobility service company, with Uber Technologies investing $75 million in Joby and both companies agreeing to integrate their respective services into each other’s apps.

Joby Aviation prototype
Joby Aviation acquires Uber Elevate and welcomes $75 million in new funding from the mobility company, bolstering its ability to provide a commercial service and maintaining its relationship with Uber. Joby Aviation Photo

“The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch.”

The Elevate team has been reported to be about 80 employees — people deeply involved in laying the foundations for commercialization of eVTOL aircraft. Many of them also have deep knowledge of the eight announced, and likely more unannounced, vehicle partners in the ecosystem — many now direct competitors of Joby. Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, will stay on as Joby’s head of product.

Joby has long taken a highly vertically integrated approach to development of its aircraft, largely out of necessity; there isn’t much of an electric aviation supplier base to draw from today, and there certainly wasn’t 10 years ago when the team began testing early prototypes. The costs associated with this approach are compounded by Joby’s intent, now quite clear, to operate its own aerial transportation service and accompanying app.

Joby also disclosed that Uber had previously invested $50 million during the company’s Series C funding round in January. Joby’s total funding now sits at $820 million — an amount that dwarfs the war chest of its competitors in the eVTOL space, but more than likely will not be enough to bring the company’s first aircraft through certification to serial production while it simultaneously lays the groundwork for a transportation service.

“Advanced air mobility has the potential to be exponentially positive for the environment and future generations,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber. “This deal allows us to deepen our partnership with Joby, the clear leader in this field, to accelerate the path to market for these technologies. We’re excited for their transformational mobility solution to become available to the millions of customers who rely on our platform.”

The app-sharing agreement is not exclusive in either direction, a representative for Joby told eVTOL.com, with nothing to prevent Uber from enlisted other aircraft manufacturers on its platform or Joby from partnering with other mobility platforms in markets around the world.

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2 Comments

  1. This is historic…
    But will Joeben be working for Mark Moore,
    or will Mark Moore be shoveling vertiport sand for Joby?

    I love Joeben… he has that magic Elon Musky Smell… (for money)…
    BUT his brilliantly designed FIRST aircraft is NOT the winning solution,
    despite the billions of other people’s money that got it off the ground,
    over and over and over…

    The Business Plan that ran Uber Elevate was broken from the git-go…
    There is no “MARKET” for multi-million dollar flying taxicabs
    to fly over big cities like Chicago (easily shot down on their way to O’Hare)
    just for few dozens of global executives to be the first
    to leave a convention center and get to their corporate business jet,
    to fly off to their yachts in the South Seas.

    BUT YES, There is a market for electric VTOLs,
    but not for these things powered by batteries alone…
    Go figure… are you reading this Joeben?

    I certainly hope the smartest guys at Hyundai and Toshiba and BMW
    can convert their failed fuel-cell automobile concepts
    into something that stays in the air for an hour or two:
    waiting for permission to land in bad (wind/snow/ rain) weather.
    Or to get the downed powerlines back up to the vertiport
    to charge up all those nearly explosive batteries coming
    out of the Argonne National Labs some day.

    It is all about HOVER, not taking off VERTICALLY, and landing only in a very few places (to recharge).

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