The ePlane Company on Monday said it has raised $5 million (about Rs 37 crore) in funding led by deep-tech venture capitalist Speciale Invest and EV/climate-focussed fund Micelio.
The pre-Series A funding also saw participation from a consortium of investors, including Naval Ravikant, 3one4 Capital, UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital), Anicut Capital, Infoedge, Prashant Pitti (co-founder of Easemytrip), Thought Ventures, Java Capital and Firstcheque.vc.
Founded in 2017 and launched in 2019, The ePlane Company is the brainchild of aerospace engineering professor, Satya Chakravarthy and his student, Pranjal Mehta.
The company aspires to build the world's most compact flying taxi called the e200 for passengers as well as cargo transport that could help reduce congestion on the roads and emissions from ground transport and lower the risk of road accidents.
The fresh lease of funds would help bolster the hiring of top-tier talent, advance R&D and continue to gain airworthiness provision and initiate certification, according to a statement.
The startup has already test flown the lab-scale prototype of the e200 and is on course to do a full-scale prototype in April 2022.
''Our mission has always been to explore efficient, safer, and carbon-neutral mobility solutions. With ePlane, we aim to build electric planes for intra-city transportation.
''The USP is that we are making the most compact flying taxi in the world which has a hybrid design that uses both rotors and wings and a subscale prototype that enables it to fly slower than e-planes with compact wings would normally require,'' The ePlane Company Co-Founder Pranjal Mehta said.
He also said the company's product will not have any dedicated infrastructure requirements and can make the city commute ten times faster at just 1.5 times the taxi fare.
''The funding we have received demonstrates the confidence investors have in us. We are grateful for the support from both our Indian and foreign investors,'' he said.
The startup raised $1 million in its seed round of funding in March last year. Currently, the startup has a team of 36 people.
Satya Chakravarthy, Co-Founder of The ePlane Company, said the company has tested a scaled-down prototype and expects to have its first cargo plane ready as early as next year.
''The cargo carrier is expected to be rolled out by February 2023, the passenger version is expected by December 2024,'' he added.
(With inputs from PTI)
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