The ePlane company that is betting on eradicating traffic by building electric planes for short-range intra-city commutes, has raised $5 million in a pre-series A round. The investment is led by deep-tech venture capitalist Special Invest and EV/climate focused-fund Micelio. 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 also participated in the round.
The company said the fresh lease of funds would help bolster the hiring of top-tier talent, advance R&D, and help it continue to gain airworthiness provisions and initiate certification.
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 start-up has already test flown a lab-scale prototype of the e200 and is on course to do a full-scale prototype in April this year.
“We have currently tested a scaled-down prototype and expect to have our 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,” said Satya Chakravarthy, co-founder, The ePlane Company, who has been on sabbatical since last year to take up this assignment.
Pranjal Mehta, co-founder, The ePlane Company, said, “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.” He added, “Our 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 eplane Company is a unique company with the vision to create technology that will make India self-sufficient. With this round, they are well on their way to making regional aerial transportation a reality,” said Vishesh Rajaram, managing partner, Speciale Invest.
The startup had raised $1 million in their seed round of funding in March last year.