LONDON — As interest in flying cars continues to swell, one of the most prominent start-ups working on the technology has gained a big new backer.
Lilium Aviation, a German company that held a successful test flight of the Eagle, its two-seat electric jet at their Munich base this year, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $90 million in a new round of financing.
The investment was led by Tencent Holdings, the Chinese internet giant. Other investors in the round included LGT, the investment vehicle of Lichtenstein’s royal family; Atomico, the venture firm run by a founder of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom; and Obvious Ventures, the investment firm co-founded by the Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. Mr. Zennstrom has previously invested in the company.
Lilium is among several companies looking to usher in an era of Jetsons-type flying cars, including those backed by the Google co-founder Larry Page, Uber and Airbus. But the two-year-old company is trying to stand out by focusing on an electric jet — unlike other models that effectively function more like hovercraft.
The design, by the four graduates of the Technical University of Munich who founded Lilium, is meant to be more energy efficient than competitor’s models. As the start-up demonstrated with its Eagle in April, Lilium’s vehicle is designed to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. full story