German-based eVTOL developer Volocopter said it has raised a total of US$579 million to date, after receiving its latest US$170-million boost from its Series E funding round.
At a pre-money valuation of US$1.7 billion, Korean WP Investment led the funding round, followed by Atlantia and Honeywell, among others.
“This funding round is a testament to Volocopter’s leading position in what is a highly attractive emerging market,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, in a press release. “We continue to make significant technical and commercial progress as we work toward bringing urban air mobility [UAM] to life at scale in cities worldwide.”
The German startup said it will use the money raised to certify and commercialize its VoloCity eVTOL air taxi, as well as help develop its other aircraft, the VoloConnect and VoloDrone.
In addition to the funding, WP Investment is partnering with the eVTOL developer to launch air taxi operations in South Korea. The joint venture is just the latest development in the company’s plan to enter the South Korean market. Shortly after Volocopter’s first crewed test flight in Seoul last year, the company partnered with Kakao Mobility to conduct a study that would look at implementing UAM operations in the country by 2025.
“We are excited to kick off our joint venture and be the first to establish sustainable eVTOL logistics and air taxi services with Volocopter in Korea,” said Tiffany Park, co-chair of WP Investment.
Volocopter said it has already received its design organization approval (DOA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and plans to launch air taxi services in other cities around the world, such as Singapore, Rome, and Paris.
In a bid to expand its market, the eVTOL developer recently announced that it had entered a financing agreement in principle with Aviation Capital Group (ACG) for up to US$1 billion. Volocopter said this will allow it to offer operating entities and customers leasing options for its eVTOL aircraft.
“Volocopter has spectacular investors from around the globe, which puts us in an excellent position to focus on our first-to-certification and first-to-market strategies before we embark on the path to public listing,” said Christian Bauer, chief commercial officer of Volocopter. “I’m excited to accelerate our path to commercial launch together with investors, partners, and the phenomenal Volocopter team.”