Climate-KIC supported start-up Lilium secures $90 million for all-electric flying taxi

Groundbreaking start-up Lilium – supported by Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme – has raised $90 million in its latest funding round, enabling rapid development towards commercialisation of its electric vertical take-off and landing jet.

A group of investors including Tencent; LGT, the international private banking and asset management group; Atomico, Lilium’s Series A backer founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström; and Obvious Ventures, whose co-founder Ev Williams is Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO. The investment brings the company’s total capital raised to more than $100 million.

From 2014 to 2015, Lilium successfully completed Stage 1 and 2 of Climate-KIC’s Accelerator programme in Germany. By participating in the innovation development initiative, the cutting-edge start-up was able to validate its business model and lay the groundworks for significant future investment. Start-ups participating in all three stages of the Accelerator programme in Germany, Austria or Switzerland are eligible to receive up to €95,000 in grants and €30,000 worth of professional business coaching.

The latest round of investment will be used for the development of the five-seat Lilium Jet that will fly commercially, as well as to grow the company’s team of more than 70. In April, Lilium achieved a world first when the full-size prototype successfully performed its most complicated manoeuvre – transitioning between hover mode and horizontal flight.

Daniel Wiegand, Lilium co-founder and CEO said: This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality. This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionise the way we travel in and around the world’s cities. It makes Lilium one of the best funded electric aircraft projects in the world. Our backers recognise that Lilium’s innovative eVTOL technology puts us in the lead in this exciting new industry, with no other company promising the economy, speed, range and low-noise levels of the Lilium Jet.

 “We are continuing to recruit the very brightest and best global talent in aeronautical engineering, physics, electric propulsion and computer science to join us on this extraordinary aviation journey where the only limits are the laws of physics.”

The Lilium Jet will be able to travel at up to 300 km per hour for one hour on a single charge – meaning a 19km journey from Manhattan to JFK Airport could last as little as five minutes. The jet’s efficiency means flights are predicted to cost less than the same journey in a normal road taxi.