The electric air taxi manufacturer Volocopter gained a new shareholder: DB Schenker is joining the company founded in 2011. The participation of the rail logistics subsidiary is part of the third round of financing, which has brought the company a further 87 million euros.
In addition to DB Schenker, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and TransLink Capital are participating as new investors, as are Lukasz Gadowski and btov as existing investors. Volocopter announced an interim balance sheet for the third round of financing as early as September: At that time, 50 million euros had already been raised – with the Chinese group Geely playing a major role. At that time, Geely Holding – like DB Schenker now – also joined Volocopter as a minority shareholder. A joint venture is also being planned.
But let’s get back to the fresh capital growth: according to the aviation start-up, the investments from the new round are to be used for the certification of the latest air taxi model VoloCity, the recruitment of further industry experts and a second generation of the VoloDrone heavy-duty drone, which is to be brought to market maturity. Together with the proceeds from the two previous financing rounds, Volocopter now has a total of 122 million euros in raised capital.
With the conclusion of the current round, the composition of the Advisory Board will also change: Volocopter has appointed Yifan “Frank” Li, Vice President of the Geely Auto Group, and Jochen Thewes, Head of DB Schenker, to the Board. Former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Martin Hubschneider, founder of CAS Software AG, will also join the Volocopter Advisory Board as independent members.
“The new shareholder structure strengthens our global network of strategic and financial partners significantly,” says Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter. The major goal is to bring Urban Air Mobility to life for passengers and goods. “Bringing urban air mobility to life for passengers and goods is a great ambition and with our new partners we bring the expertise and necessary long-term funds on board to make this innovative form of mobility a reality.”
DB Schenker is particularly interested in the new heavy-duty drone, which is showcased on the startup’s website with a payload of 200 kilograms and a range of 40 kilometers, and which – as shown in the video below – took off for the first time as a prototype in October 2019. “We are convinced that the Volocopter technology has the potential to bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers,” says CEO Jochen Thewes. DB Schenker is also already testing autonomous and electrically driven vehicles in various innovation projects and also in actual operation. “By integrating the VoloDrone into our supply chain of the future we will be able to serve our clients’ demand for fast, remote, emission-neutral deliveries. We are thrilled to now be part of this drive for innovation in a fantastic team.”
Volocopter has recently completed several public flights at Helsinki airport, in Stuttgart and in Singapore – most recently they completed their tests manned. The company has already received preliminary traffic approval from the German authorities in 2016. In addition, Volocopter claims to be the first company to have also been recognised as a design organisation by the European Aviation Safety Agency. According to the company’s headquarters, Volocopter is now working on the commercial approval of VoloCity. The startup hopes to inaugurate the first commercial route “in two to four years”.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.