Venture

Air Taxi Startup Joby Aviation Lands $590M From Toyota-Led Series C

A California air taxi startup has just pulled in $590 million in a new round of funding, with automaker Toyota as the lead investor.

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Santa Cruz’s Joby Aviation makes electric aircrafts that can travel up to 200 miles per hour and more than 150 miles on a single charge–and does it quietly. The company says its plane is 100 times quieter than a traditional plane and is “near-silent in flyover.”

The Series C round brings Joby’s total funding to $720 million. The company raised its $30 million Series A,,  led by Capricorn Investment Group, in December 2016. It also raised $100 million in a Series B round led by Intel Capital in January 2019.

Other Joby investors include SPARX Group and JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The new round of funding is also a mark of automaker Toyota’s bet on air transportation. The company has invested in car-centric startups, including rideshare companies Uber and Didi Chuxing, and autonomous vehicle startup May Mobility.

“Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda said in a statement. “As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life.”

Toyota will bring its knowledge of manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby’s aircraft, Joby said in a statement. Moving more transit to air would reduce congestion on roads and make transit faster.

Joby planes will have per-trip passenger pricing, but eventually those prices should come down to nearly the cost of ground transportation, the company said.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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