Briefing

Tencent leads US$240-million round for flying-taxi startup Lilium

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The Weßling, Germany-based firm plans to build a fleet of a five-seater, 36-fan electric aircraft to operate an intercity service beginning in 2025. Lilium said the funding will support its operations for at least the next year, and that it will start producing units for regulatory approval in 2023. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: As of October 2019, the company was reportedly trying to raise up to US$500 million. But as some of Canada’s leading venture capitalists told The Logic in January, following WeWork’s troubles last year investors have re-evaluated funding for companies in and around the technology sector that don’t have the high margins of most software firms. Lilium’s model isn’t unique, and some of its competitors bring expertise from the auto and aerospace industries—Uber and Hyundai have teamed up, while Toyota contributed US$394 million to U.S. firm Joby Aviation’s US$590-million raise in January. Europe may prove a tough starter market for flying taxis, since flights within the continent are generally much cheaper than within North America.