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Electric jet company Lilium receives $90M to make flying cars a reality

The Lilium Jet – The world's first all-electric VTOL jet
How much money would you throw at a company promising to deliver Jetsons-like flying cars? If you’re anything like the venture capitalists involved with German aviation startup Lilium Aviation, the answer is $90 million. That is how much they invested in a recently completed Series B funding round.

Among the high-profile investors are Chinese internet giant and investment company Tencent, private banking and asset management firm LGT, and others. They joined Twitter co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams and Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström as individuals with a vested interest in making Lilium’s flying cars, well, take off. The $90 million brings the total investment in the company to more than $100 million — which is hopefully enough to deliver a sweet product to the market place in the not-too-distant future.

Earlier in 2017, Lilium carried out a demonstration of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) jet at a private airfield in Bavaria. Controlled remotely by a pilot on the ground, the two-seater prototype was able to execute a vertical takeoff, transition between its hover and forward flight modes mid-air, and make a successful landing. In addition to this vehicle, the startup is also working on a five-person jet that will be able to travel at speeds of up to 300 km per hour (186 mph) for 60 minutes on a single charge. To put that in perspective, it means completing the 19 km journey from Manhattan to JFK Airport in as little as five minutes.

It is this latter vehicle that Lilium’s new windfall will mainly go toward. “This investment is a tremendously important step for Lilium as it enables us to make the five-seat jet a reality,” Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities. It makes Lilium one of the best funded electric aircraft projects in the world.”

The money will also help grow the size of the team, which currently stands at more than 70. We guess we know where to send your résumé if you are looking to join an innovative startup. Who knows, maybe they will even throw in a free flying car as part of your benefits package.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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