Urban-Air Port, the UK-based startup developing hubs for flying taxis has announced it is closing in on £20M ($25.4M) in equity investment. This amount raised is double the initial target set of £10M, indicating the growing investor interest in the sector. Interestingly, the firm has letters of intent worth £50M and £15M of pre-orders for a total of 13 flying-taxi bases, according to the Founder Ricky Sandhu. This funding follows the debut and demonstration of its vertiport which is open for public visitation in Coventry, the U.K.
The Founder disclosed some terms of the deal stating that the Canadian services firm Dymond Group will invest in its infrastructure business whereas the other European investor, a real estate operator will back the company. With eVTOL manufacturers expecting to offer services in the next few years, the startup is strategically positioning itself to take part in the next iteration of urban transport.
The urban air mobility market is forecasted to grow by 9% p.a, reaching $12.7B by 2027 and up to $1Tn in the next 20 years. However, the lack of ground infrastructure remains a huge barrier to the growth of the Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) industry. In 2021, a mere 3% of industry investment was in the physical ground infrastructure, despite 33 times that amount announced for the development of eVTOL vehicles in the same period.
The debut of the Air-One
The development & debut of the Air-One was in partnership with Supernal, a U.S.-based mobility service provider developing an Advanced Air Mobility eVTOL vehicle and working to responsibly co-create the supporting ecosystem, integrating it into existing transit options. Urban-Air and Supernal’s partnership with Urban-Air Port began in 2020 with the duo working together to support future AAM operations related to building infrastructure networks, designing physical prototypes and shaping operational procedures. The partnership has resulted in the recent successful launch of the Air-One, Urban-Air Port’s proprietary deployable operations hub for manned and unmanned vehicles.
The 17,000 square-foot radial complex was erected in 11 weeks and is divided into fully outfitted zones including a passenger lounge, retail pop-up, café, cargo logistics hub, security screening, electric & hydrogen-air vehicle hangar as well as a command and control centre. The zones are anchored by a patented 56-foot circular final approach and takeoff (FATO) platform that raises 19ft using a compact, state-of-the-art, synchronised link-lift system to enable future eVTOL takeoffs and landings.
“The opening of Air-One is a momentous occasion – the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, low-congestion travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before,” explained Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port’s executive chairman.
Targeting 200 vertiports in the next 5 years
Founded in 2019 by Ricky Sandhu, Urban-Air Port designs, develops, manufactures, sells and operates ground, air & digital infrastructure for new forms of sustainable urban air transport such as air taxis and autonomous delivery drones. Its mission is to eliminate lacking ground infrastructure as the largest single constraint to sustainable air mobility.
The Hyundai-backed startup hopes is to create a zero-emission mobility ecosystem that will significantly cut congestion and air pollution from passenger and cargo transport. Urban-Air Port is recognized as a world leader in the AAM sector, with plans to deliver over 200 vertiports across the world in the next five years.