Electric VTOL aircraft startup Beta Technologies is now valued at $1.4 billion after closing a $368 million funding round led by Fidelity and Amazon’s Climate Fund. The Vermont-based company has said that proceeds will be used to refine its electric propulsion systems and controls as well as the construction of manufacturing facilities, while continuing to advance toward Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of ALIA.

The funding announcement comes shortly after Beta’s acquisition of a MFR (Military Flight Release) from the United States Air Force for its ALIA aircraft. The MFR from the Air Force will now allow Beta to perform flight tests in collaboration with the Air Force with a pilot on board. Backed by the U.S. Military, the startup now spans its reach across multiple industries, including air medical delivery, cargo logistics, government, and passenger travel, featuring partnerships with United Therapeutics, UPS, and Blade.

BETA Technologies’ electric vertical aviation aircraft. Source // BETA

“We’re gratified for the confidence this diverse group of investors has placed in our team as we continue on our mission to transform how people and goods move about the world,” said Kyle Clark, BETA’s Founder and CEO. “These funds allow us to continue hiring the best talent, meet aggressive certification milestones, ramp up production of ALIA, and accelerate the rollout of an extensive high-speed universal charging infrastructure.”

“We support BETA Technologies’ mission to reshape air transportation through zero-emission aviation and are proud to invest in them through Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund,” said Kara Hurst, Vice President, and Head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “The development of sustainable and decarbonizing technologies will help facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and protect the planet for future generations.”

BETA’s ALIA aircraft, which will be capable of flying 250 nautical miles on a single charge and carrying six people, or a pilot and 1,500 pounds, includes a novel combination of elements that create a smooth and quiet flying experience. In addition to being more than ten times quieter than a helicopter and much quieter than cars on a highway, ALIA produces zero operational emissions. The large wings, clean design, and simple propulsion system are based on first principle engineering. The company philosophy is to reduce risk in certifying its first commercial aircraft through simplification.

In other news, BETA also announced it has initiated the permitting process to expand its footprint in Vermont with a new facility to be built on unused land at Burlington International Airport (BTV). The project, which when completed will include office space, research and development, and manufacturing space, is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the coming years. These well-paid positions in construction, engineering, design, mechanical and manufacturing roles will continue to deliver on BETA’s commitment to Vermont and its economy.

Sources // BETA; Reuters

Posted by George Gatsios

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