Venture Capital: Saudi Investment Firm Participates in Electric Air Taxi Startup Funding

February 3, 2020 | Latest News, News, Venture Capital
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Jameel Investment Management Company invests in Joby Aviation.

California-based Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi startup founded in 2009, raised $590 million in a Series C fundraising. The round was led by Toyota Motor Company, with participation by Baillie Gifford, according to Arabian Business. Jameel Investment Management Company, an investment arm of Saudi family business Abdul Latif Jameel, invested in this round; however, the companies did not disclose the amount of their investment.

Abdul Latif Jameel is a family-owned diversified business. It was founded in Saudi Arabia in 1945 by the late Sheikh Abdul Latif Jameel. Operating across seven core business sectors, Abdul Latif Jameel has a presence in over 30 countries across six continents. It started as a small trading business and then added a Toyota distributorship in Jeddah. It now has the largest vehicle distribution network in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile’s Joby Aviation’s mission is to improve daily transportation by developing a new aircraft that flies above “bumper-to-bumper,” reaching commuters to their destination up to five times faster than driving.

The aviation startup is developing an advanced electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.  The aircraft will cater to the air taxi market.

Joby Aviation: Investors

The latest C round brings Joby’s aggregate funding to date to $720 million. Therefore, it is now the most well-funded startup globally in the world of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

Other previous and current investors include SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, 8VC, Toyota AI Ventures, and AME Cloud Ventures.

“Air taxi service is still in the early stages of commercialization, but one that has the potential to completely transform the future of mobility,” said Hassan Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel. “We are excited to be a part of this new chapter for the sector, bringing fast, affordable, and zero-emissions air mobility to Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region. Improving daily transportation in line with environmental sustainability is a mission we share with all our partners in business, and one which we are committed to delivering on.”

Further, “We are very pleased to have Abdul Latif Jameel as new backers in our recent Series C financing round,” said Paul Sciarra, executive chairman of Joby Aviation. “We respect their track-record of significant investment in the future of electric mobility.”

Uber’s flying taxis in Dubai

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently confirmed that they would conduct a trial run of flying taxis in 2020.

The RTA will conduct the test flight of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VToL) vehicles jointly with Uber. The first demonstration network is likely to be ready for Expo 2020 Dubai. The city is also drawing up plans for setting up “VertiPorts” (take-off and landing ports) around the city.

Related Story:    Venture Capital: Electric Vehicle Maker Rivian’s Monster Funding Round                                               

Image source: jobyaviation.com

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