Air-taxi start-up Volocopter raises €87m in funding

Company enlists former Daimler chief as adviser

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 22: A prototype of Volocopter air taxi in flight during test flight over Marina Bay on October 22, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Ore Huiying/Getty Images)
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Volocopter, a start-up developing autonomous electric air-taxis backed by Intel, secured fresh funding from investors including Germany’s rail operator and said a former Daimler chief is now an adviser.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, MS&AD Ventures and TransLink Capital joined Deutsche Bahn’s freight arm in the latest financing round generating about €87 million (Dh345m), the German company said in a statement on Friday.

Volocopter’s new fundraising dwarfs its previous ones, and the addition of former Daimler head Dieter Zetsche and Geely Holding Group’s Yifan Li as advisers adds credibility to its plan to launch people and cargo-carrying drones. Also backed by Daimler, the start-up has now attracted €122m in funds.

The company said in addition to helping certify VoloCity air-taxis and VoloDrone cargo crafts for airworthiness, the extra money may go toward a potential initial public offering. It’s looking to secure its first commercial flights in the next two to four years.

Jochen Thewes, chief executive of German freight company DB Schenker, is also joining Volocopter’s advisory council alongside Mr Zetsche and Mr Li.