Our Series B investment in Lilium: The sky’s the limit as clean air taxis set for lift-off
Nearly a century after Henry Ford gave up on his vision of mass-produced ‘Model Ts of the air’, the dream of ‘anywhere, anytime flying’ moves a step closer today with the announcement that Lilium has raised a $90m Series B funding round.
Led by our friends at Tencent, with Twitter and Medium co-founder Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures and Lichtenstein-based LGT Group also joining us in this Series B round, the Munich-based startup, which is building the world’s first five-seat all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet, will shift into accelerated development mode, bringing the company’s vision of ubiquitous and affordable zero-emissions air taxis – summoned at the tap of a smartphone – closer to realisation.
As we wrote when we announced our Series A investment in Lilium’s breakthrough tech in December 2016, we believe exceptional entrepreneurs, empowered by technology, are best-placed to solve some of humanity’s most entrenched and seemingly intractable problems.
Lilium addresses several of them: gridlocked cities with public transportation systems groaning under demand they cannot expand quickly enough to serve; pollution choking town and city centres; lengthy, mind-numbingly slow daily commutes reducing our downtime and family time; parts of the world with poor quality road and transport infrastructure; even the lack of affordable housing – after all, low-cost, easy-to-use and highly efficient ‘air taxis’ travelling at 5x the speed of the average car, and with a range of up to 300km, will bring swathes of underdeveloped land to within commuting distance of major cities, thereby increasing supply. These are some of the issues Atomico was set up to help tackle.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 5, 2017
We’re thrilled to welcome to our investment group Tencent, LGT Group, and Twitter cofounder Ev Williams’ world positive investment firm Obvious Ventures – a combination that means Lilium now have a major investor who all share our vision in each of the three core geographies: the US, Europe and China. And not only does it mean that the company, having raised more than $100m to date, is one of the best-funded eVTOL aircraft startups worldwide, enabling it to double-down on its revolutionary technology, but it will help Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand attract global talent in deep, hard-to-reach specialisms such as aeronautical engineering, electric propulsion and avionics.
One of the many things we admire about this company is that in setting out to build an aircraft with improved performance across safety, noise pollution, speed, range and payload, they set the bar incredibly high. They are an example of just how high the ambition levels in Europe have become since we started Atomico 10 years ago, proving our thesis that great companies now come from everywhere. With this latest investment round, Lilium now have the runway to make their ambition of making anytime, anywhere sustainable travel – for everyone – real and lasting.