News: Air taxi startup Volocopter eyes fresh capital, SPAC an option: CEO.
BERLIN (Reuters) – German air taxi startup Volocopter plans to raise new funds from investors, its CEO Florian Reuter said on Thursday, adding that an IPO through a special purpose vehicle (SPAC) was an option.
This month, Volocopter supported investors, led by US asset manager Blackrock, for € 200 million to apply for certification for its battery-powered flying taxi.
“We expect that we need more money in the future,” said Reuter in an interview. “You can expect that we will continue to raise funds in the future.”
Reuter intends to put the VoloCity air taxi into commercial service over the next two years, in a race with startups like U.S. rival Joby, which has a $ 6.6 billion SPAC deal. Dollar wants to go public.
Joby, which has partnered with Toyota Motor Corp and Uber Technologies, has announced that it will join forces to create Reinvent Technology Partner in a deal expected to close in the second quarter.
SPACs are shell companies that list on the stock exchange and then look for a target to merge with. The structure provides venture capital-backed startups with an easier route to public markets than an IPO – especially for those that are not yet generating income and looking to raise new funds.
With its drone-like aircraft, Volocopter is pursuing a two-pronged strategy by testing a remote-controlled freight lifter with the logistics company DB Schenker and developing a two-seater flying taxi with a similar design for urban air traffic.
In Germany, the challenge is for Lilium, a Munich-based air taxi startup whose fixed-wing design is more suitable for longer hops between cities. It has been reported that Lilium is considering a deal to go public through a SPAC.
Reuter called Volocopter a technology leader, but was aware of the risks of falling behind rivals with strong financial backing.
“What is most important is that you always have enough money to run your strategy at full throttle,” he said.
When asked whether merging with a SPAC was an option, Reuter said: “A SPAC is interesting, but not the only way. There are alternatives.
“We are examining different routes to find out how Volocopter can best get around. We watch rumors, but we don’t contribute to speculation. “
This month’s Series D financing round brought the total amount raised by Volocopter to € 322 million, with investors Avala Capital, Atlantia, Continental, NTT and Tokyo Century on board. ($ 1 = 0.8375 euros)
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