Volocopter Stock and IPO: Will the eVTOL Startup Ever Go Public?
The global vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) market could be worth $1 trillion by 2040. Volocopter GmbH is an electric VTOL (eVTOL) company aiming to provide air taxi services. Will it go public, and can you invest in Volocopter stock until then? Read to find out.
Matt Johnston Updated April 29th, 2022
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What does Volocopter do?
Volocopter makes eVTOL aircraft (pictured above) and develops an air taxi service it plans to deploy in the next couple of years. Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf founded the company in 2011, the year the company’s eVTOL prototype took its first flight. The company is based in Bruchsal, Germany, with satellite offices in Munich and Singapore.
Volocopter hopes that its air taxes will address the congestion and toxic emissions that plague major cities around the world. Urban air transportation is Volocopter’s solution.
Volocopter’s eVTOLs aren’t just fancy new helicopters. They have several advantages over traditional helicopters. They are supposed to be cheaper to build and operate. They produce fewer emissions and are quieter, safer, and easier to manage on the ground.
Volocopter’s eVTOL lineup includes VoloCity, VoloConnect, and VoloDrone. The company has no plans to sell single models of these aircraft. Instead, its aircraft will serve as part of its fleet of air taxis. The fare will be about the same as the cost of an Uber Black, Uber’s premium luxury car service.
VoloCity will transport passengers between key transportation hubs such as train stations and airports. Its maximum payload of 200 kilograms means it will be able to move about two paying passengers at a time, including hand luggage. VoloCity has a maximum airspeed of 110 km/h and a range of 35 kilometers.
VoloConnect is designed to connect the city with the suburbs. It’s an extension of the services provided by VoloCity. VoloConnect will transport as many as four passengers up to 100 kilometers at a time. It has a maximum airspeed of 250 km/h and a cruise speed of 180 km/h.
VoloDrone is Volocopter’s cargo eVTOL. It will have a payload of up to 200 kilograms and a range of up to 40 kilometers. It is designed for package delivery, rescue missions, shore-to-ship deliveries, and more.
A typical car taxi can pick up and drop off passengers just about anywhere in the city. But air taxis don’t have that luxury. They need specially-designed places to land and take off. Fortunately, eVTOLs don’t need long runways. But they still need some form of a landing pad.
Volocopter has designed the VoloPort for that purpose. The modular and flexible design of these VoloPorts means they can be on the ground, at sea, or on top of buildings. They take up the space of about two tennis courts. VoloPorts will act as the transportation hubs for the VoloCity and VoloConnect aircraft.
People take taxis for speed and convenience. In busy city centers, you can hail a taxi from the sidewalk. To ride one of Volocopter’s eVTOLs, you must first get to the nearest VoloPort. If where you’re going is closer than the VoloPort, then it doesn’t make sense to take an eVTOL. Volocopter’s ecosystem might be better likened to a subway system, but for the sky. Maybe an uber-way?
Volocopter has also designed intelligent software — VoloIQ — to support its eVTOL ecosystem. The VoloIQ cloud-based platform will allow customers to book flights and manage connections with other transportation options not offered by Volocopter. It will also provide services such as monitoring weather and the maintenance needs of the company’s eVTOLs.
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When will Volocopter launch?
Volocopter hopes to launch it in the next 2-3 years. It has already committed to Singapore and Paris as its first cities. The company targets the 2024 Paris Olympics as the launch date. But their commercial launch will ultimately depend on the type of certification it gets and when it gets it.
Volocopter holds both the design and production approvals (DOA and POA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The company recently hired Dirk Hoke as CEO to help complete the certification process. Hoke is the former head of the defense and aerospace division at Airbus.
Is Volocopter publicly traded? When will Volocopter IPO?
Volocopter is still a private company. It does not have publicly-traded shares. But it does plan to go public and has set 2024 as a target year for the IPO. The company was previously rumored to want to do a SPAC earlier, but the deal was canceled due to challenging market transactions.
There is less urgency to go public because the startup has already raised a lot of money from private backers, completing its latest funding round at a $1.7 billion valuation. That round raised $170 million, bringing its total equity funding to $579 million. The company said that the funds would help with the certification of its air taxis as well as the commercial launch of its services.
The Series E funding round included contributions from new investors, such as funds managed by Korean WP Investment and Honeywell. Volocopter’s other backers include Mercedes-Benz, Intel, funds managed by BlackRock, Geely Automobile Holdings, Atlantia SpA, Avala Capital, Deutsche Bahn, and others.
Volocopter has also secured up to $1 billion in debt financing from Aviation Capital Group. The deal, which could let Volocopter borrow up to $1 billion, is contingent on Volocopter receiving full aircraft certification.
Publicly traded alternatives to Volocopter stock
You may not be able to invest in Volocopter right now, but there are still ways to get exposure to eVTOL and air taxi stocks. There are now quite a few eVTOL stocks that have IPO’d. Here are some suggestions:
- Joby Aviation (JOBY)
- Vertical Aerospace (EVTL)
- Archer Aviation (ACHR)
- Lilium (LILM)
- Blade Air Mobility (BLDE)
- Ehang Holdings (EH)
🔔 Looking for more options? Learn about investing in publicly traded eVTOL stocks.
All in, Volocopter bills itself as the Uber of the skies. Whether or not its air taxi service can fully replace traditional taxis or simply supplement them is still a question that is up in the air, so to speak.
NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.