Venture Capital: Amazon And Fidelity Among Investors Backing BETA’s Electric Vertical Aircraft With $368M

BETA, a maker of Electric Vertical Aircraft (EVAs) turns unicorn.

BETA Technologies, which has secured multiple partnerships and order commitments for its EVAs, announced today its close of a Series A round of $368 million led by Fidelity. Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund also participated, as did other new and existing investors. The round valued BETA at $1.4 billion, classifying it in the rarefied class of “unicorn” startups that boast of a valuation of $1 billion or more. (CNBC)

FAA certification

BETA’s ALIA aircraft, claimed to be “simple enough to be revolutionary,” are expected to obtain FAA certification by 2024. In its design, ALIA relied on first principal engineering and used large wings and a simple propulsion system. It still is said to be the world’s most technologically advanced EVA.

ALIA can fly up to 250 nautical miles on a single charge and carry six people. Alternatively, they can fly a pilot plus cargo weighing up to 1500 pounds. The aircraft is more than 10 times quieter than a helicopter and produces zero operational emissions.

BETA is also building extensive charging infrastructure.

In March, ALIA completed an interstate test flight from its Plattsburgh, NY home airport test facility to the company’s headquarters on the grounds of Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, VT.

Separately, around the same time, ALIA set a new BETA record for endurance, range, and altitude.

In April, ALIA received the first-ever airworthiness approval from the U.S. Air Force for a manned eVTOL flight.

Use of funds

BETA plans to use the new money to continue the development of its electric propulsion systems and controls and for the construction of manufacturing facilities as it moves toward FAA certification.

“These funds allow us to continue hiring the best talent, meet aggressive certification milestones, ramp up production of ALIA, and accelerate the rollout of an extensive high-speed universal charging infrastructure,” said Kyle Clark, BETA’s Founder and CEO.

The company said its aircraft will reshape how people and cargo move while reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

“We support BETA Technologies’ mission to reshape air transportation through zero-emission aviation and are proud to invest in them through Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President, and Head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). “The development of sustainable and decarbonizing technologies will help facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and protect the planet for future generations.”

Significant new partnerships

  • Last month, UPS (NYSE: UPS) reserved the right to order 150 of the company’s aircraft and charging stations
  • Blade Open Air Mobility (NASDAQ: BLDE) last month ordered five ALIA aircraft to be delivered in 2024 and an option for up to 20 more – Blade became BETA’s first passenger service customer
  • United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR) plans to use the company’s aircraft as air taxis for transportation of synthetic organs for transplants.

Related Story:   Electric Flying Ferry Startup Regent Raises $9M

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