Chennai-based flying taxi startup The ePlane Company has raised $5 million (approx Rs 37 crore) in a new financing round led by Speciale Invest and EV/climate-focused fund Micelio. The funding announcement comes ten months after it raised $1 million in a seed round.
The new round also witnessed participation from angel investor Naval Ravikant, 3one4 Capital, UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital), Anicut Capital, Infoedge backed Redstart Labs, Prashant Pitti (Co-founder of Easemytrip), Thought Ventures, Java Capital, and Firstcheque.
The ePlane company, which has now raised $6 million in funding so far, plans to deploy the raised capital in hiring, Research and Development (R&D), building prototypes, and receiving certifications.
The startup, which was incubated in IIT Madras by Professor Satya Chakravarthy and Pranjal Mehta, aspires to build the world’s most compact flying taxi called the e200 for passengers as well as cargo transport that could help reduce congestion on the roads and emissions from ground transport and lower the risk of road accidents.
It’s worthy to mention that the firm has already test flown a lab-scale prototype and is on course to do a full-scale prototype in April this year.
“The USP is that we are making the most compact flying taxi in the world, which has a hybrid design that uses both rotors and wings, and a subscale prototype that enables it to fly slower than e-planes with compact wings would normally require,” Pranjal Mehta said.
He further said that the product will not have any dedicated infrastructure requirements and can make the city commute ten times faster at just 1.5 times the taxi fare.
With a team of 36 people, The startup has tested a scaled-down prototype and expects to have its first cargo plane ready as early as next year.
Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner, Speciale Invest, said, “The ePlane Company is one of the unique companies with the vision to create technology that will make India self-sufficient. It aligns with our vision of backing disruptive companies solving global problems via tech innovations very well.”