German aviation startup Lilium has closed a $90 million series B round of funding from a handful of notable investors, including Chinese technology giant Tencent, existing investor Atomico (the VC firm created by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström), Obvious Ventures (the VC firm founded by Twitter cofounder and former CEO Ev Williams), and global banking and asset management group LGT, Venturebeat reports.
Founded out of Munich in 2014, Lilium — known as Lilium Aviation until a name change a few months back — is setting out to create a world “in which everyone can fly anywhere, anytime” by building compact all-electric jets that take off and land vertically. This would effectively bypass expensive, space-consuming runways and would position the company to fulfill its mission of bringing Uber-style air taxis to market within a decade.
Indeed, Lilium carried out is first test flight back in April, sending a prototype two-seater jet to the skies above Germany. During its maiden journey, the company performed what it called its “most complicated manoeuvre” when it transitioned between hover mode and horizontal movement. The company revealed at the time that it was setting its sights on a bigger, five-seater aircraft — something that will be made much easier with another $90 million in the bank.
This latest round of funding comes less than a year after Lilium closed its Atomico-led $10.7 million series A round, and with its new cash injection the company confirmed it will now “accelerate” plans to bring “low-cost air travel to a mass audience” by transporting people up to 300 km in one hour “at a price comparable to ground transport,” according to a statement.
“This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium, as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality,” noted Lilium cofounder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities.”
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