Tencent had promised Lilium millions more if other investors followed suit. With Earlybird, a prominent German investor has now been found for the first time.

The Lilium jet on an unmanned test flight in Spain.

The Bavarian air taxi startup Lilium has again received a three-digit million amount from investors. According to the company, half of the 150 million US dollars will come from existing Chinese investor Tencent, while the second half will be led by VC Earlybird from Berlin. Other investors include the German investor UVC Partners, BIT Capital from Hong Kong and Frank Thelen, who previously held shares in Lilium.

This will largely cover the funding gap until the next major milestone, the manned first flight in autumn 2024. As of May this year, Tencent had already provided $100 million in funding. Another $75 million should flow if $75 million comes from European investors at the same time.

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The fact that Earlybird of all people is now investing in Lilium is quite surprising, because the renowned VC does not usually invest in listed companies. In addition, according to Lilium CEO Klaus Roewe, only about one percent of the risk capital collected has come from Germany. “Here you are only everyone’s best friend when there are no more risks,” he said in an interview with Gründerszene in May.

Earlybird partner Hendrik Brandis explains the late investment in the Handelsblatt as follows: “We were not among the early investors because we had too much respect for the technical and financial challenges. But now the main obstacles have been overcome and the maiden flight is not far away.” In addition, due to the currently comparatively low valuation of 660 million US dollars, “an attractive risk/reward ratio is offered”.

When Nasdaq went public via a Spac two years ago, Lilium was valued at around three billion US dollars. Since then, the share price has fallen by up to 90 percent – ​​also because doubts about the complex technology of the jet arose. Unlike other providers such as Volocopter, Lilium relies on a drive with 30 tiltable rotors, which combine vertical take-off and landing with the aerodynamic advantages of an airplane, thus enabling longer flight distances.

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The Bavarian company is currently working on the approval of the vertical take-off by the supervisory authorities, for which the manned first flight is a decisive prerequisite. With the new capital, financing should be secured up to this milestone. After that, according to CEO Roewe, Lilium wants to finance itself primarily through down payments from customers anyway. Final approval is targeted for the end of 2025.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.de/gruenderszene/automotive-mobility/lilium-flugtaxi-startup-sammelt-150-millionen-us-dollar-ein/

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