Fidelity, Amazon back eVTOL developer Beta Technologies

Avatar for eVTOLBy eVTOL | May 18, 2021

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 56 seconds.

Vermont-based eVTOL developer Beta Technologies announced it has closed a $368 million private round of funding to help take its Alia aircraft through certification.

Beta Alia front view
Beta’s eVTOL aircraft, shown here during flight testing in airplane mode, can carry up to six people or 1,500 lb. of cargo. Eric Adams Photo

The “meaningfully oversubscribed” funding round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and joined by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Redbird Capital, and other new and returning investors. It values the company at just under $1.4 billion, making Beta the latest “unicorn” to exceed a $1 billion valuation in the eVTOL space.

“We’re gratified for the confidence this diverse group of investors has placed in our team as we continue on our mission to transform how people and goods move about the world,” stated Kyle Clark, Beta’s founder and CEO, in a press release. “These funds allow us to continue hiring the best talent, meet aggressive certification milestones, ramp up production of Alia, and accelerate the rollout of an extensive high-speed universal charging infrastructure.”

“We support Beta Technologies’ mission to reshape air transportation through zero-emission aviation and are proud to invest in them through Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund,” added Kara Hurst, vice president and head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.

Clark suggested to CNBC that Beta aircraft could someday be used for Amazon Prime delivery. Beta has already announced an order from UPS for at least 10 and as many as 150 Alia aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2024, pending certification by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The company also has an order from Blade Urban Air Mobility for up to 20 aircraft for passenger transportation missions, and is conducting crewed flight testing for the U.S. Air Force. Beta’s launch customer is United Therapeutics, which plans to use Alia aircraft to transport its synthetic organs for human transplant.

“We’re delighted to welcome new investors to Beta,” stated United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt. “This new funding will accelerate Beta’s development. Electric powered aviation is the future of on-demand organ transportation, and with the Alia aircraft and charging network, that future is closer than we think.”

In addition to its latest funding, Beta announced it has initiated the permitting process to build a new facility on unused land at Burlington International Airport. The project will include office, research and development, and manufacturing space, and is expected to create hundreds of “well-paid positions in construction, engineering, design, mechanical, and manufacturing roles,” Beta said.

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