Volocopter raises €87m and hints at potential IPO

21 Feb 2020

A Volocopter test flight in Singapore. Image: Nikolay Kazakov/Volocopter

While announcing the extension of its Series C funding round, Volocopter also named four new members on its advisory board, who will help the company prepare for a potential future IPO.

On Friday (21 February), Volocopter announced an investment from global logistics service provider DB Schenker, which served as an extension to Volocopter’s Series C funding round, that has now raised €87m.

Aside from DB Schenker, new investors in the round include Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, MS&AD Ventures and TransLink Capital. Existing investors Lukasz Gadowski and Btov also invested.

Volocopter said that the funding will go towards the certification of the VoloCity, hiring more industry experts and a second generation VoloDrone to ensure commercialisation of the heavy-lift cargo drone product. To date, the start-up has raised €122m.

Public flights

Volocopter is currently developing an autonomous electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), which could eventually offer air taxi services in megacities to expand the selection of transport options available to citizens.

Recently, the company performed a public flight over Marina Bay Reservoir in Singapore while displaying a full-scale VoloPort prototype to allow visitors to experience what urban air mobility (UAM) could feel like in the future.

The start-up has been running demos for some time now, including a public demonstration of the VoloDrone in October which highlighted the start-up’s expansion into logistics, agriculture, public services and construction industries.

A potential IPO

Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker, said: “We are convinced that the Volocopter technology has the potential to bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers.

“DB Schenker has already tested autonomous and electrical vehicles in several innovation projects and in actual operations. By integrating the VoloDrone into our supply chain of the future we will be able to serve our clients’ demand for fast, remote, emission-neutral deliveries. We are thrilled to now be part of this drive for innovation in a fantastic team.”

Following the closing of Volocopter’s Series C, the company has newly appointed Yifan ‘Frank’ Li, vice-president of Geely Holding Group and Thewes to its advisory board.

In a move to enhance its corporate governance, the start-up is also bringing on two independent advisory board members, with extensive industry expertise. These new members are former Daimler CEO, Dr Dieter Zetsche and fouder of CAS Software, Martin Hubschneider.

Volocopter chairman Stefan Klocke said: “The board will support the management in the further strategic development of the company towards the global market leader in urban air mobility and in the preparations for a potential future IPO.”

Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said: “The new shareholder structure strengthens our global network of strategic and financial partners significantly. Bringing urban air mobility to life for passengers and goods is a great ambition and with our new partners we bring the expertise and necessary long-term funds on board to make this innovative form of mobility a reality.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic