There is a new electric vertical aircraft unicorn in town – and its name is Beta Technologies.
Electric aircraft startup Beta Technologies successfully completed a Series A funding round, closing $368 million in investments. With this massive injection of capital from such firms as Fidelity Management & Research and Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, the company’s valuation now stands at a whopping $1.4 billion.
This makes Beta a member of an elite group of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) unicorns.
The billion-dollar valuation comes after Beta successfully closed two funding rounds, the first one in March raking a total of $143 million in private capital and the second Series A funding generating $368 million.
Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund invested an undisclosed amount from its $2 billion fund to the electric aviation company to support its advocacy on sustainable technologies.
The Fund has also contributed to green tech companies such as electric carmaker Rivian, ZeroAvia, a hydrogen cell fuel aviation startup, and battery recycling company RedWood Materials.
Amazon investment a game-changer
Kyle Clark, Beta founder, and chief executive officer considered the Amazon investment a game-changer and could significantly open considerable growth opportunities.
In time, Clark added that they would want to “prove to Amazon” that they have developed the “right technology for their challenges.” To make a case for the logistics giant, additional flight testing and operational flight testing needs to be performed.
Electric aviation unicorns have made headlines over their billion-dollar valuations. However, while other firms such as Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation focus on air taxis, Beta will go for cargo delivery, medical logistics, and defense applications.
The Vermont-based startup’s first electric aircraft – ALIA-250C – is equipped to handle cargo-carrying clientele, able to handle 1,500 pounds and six people.
Before the Series A funding, Beta has already clinched partnerships with UPS, the US Air Force, and United Therapeutics. These companies have purchased ALIA aircraft to transport cargo, cargo and personnel, and synthetic organs for transplant purposes.
Nevertheless, Beta is not closing doors on passenger transport. On the contrary, it has inked a lucrative sale with Blade Urban Air Mobility to sell five ALIA aircraft ready for delivery by 2024.
FAA certification expected by 2024
While Beta was the first eVTOL awarded airworthiness approval by the US Air Force, it still needs to secure certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Beta, which Clark founded in 2017, anticipates no serious problems getting an FAA certification by 2024. Given the sterling outcome of its funding rounds and solid purchase orders from logistics customers, the electric aviation startup believes these will help achieve certification.