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SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) Fuels the Takeoff of Air Taxis

Startup companies are in the race of urban air mobility by developing electronic aircrafts capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). SPAC, one of the hottest trends on Wall Street, are shell companies that list on a stock exchange with the intent of merging with an existing company, and so avoid the rigours of an IPO. Joby Avication, a California-based startup, announced its plans to go public via a reverse merger with SPAC in February. Joby is backed by a fancy list of investors, e.g., Toyota, Intel, Uber, Baillie Gifford, Blackrock and Fidelity. Joby is targeting a 2024 commercial launch in a U.S. city, when it will first see revenue. Besides Joby, other players in eVTOL have also disclosed their updates of going public via SPAC in recent times. Archer Aviation, a California-based startup, plans to unveil its full-scale eVTOL later this year and the SPAC merger will help to reach the goal of volume manufacturing in 2023 and generate material revenues by 2025. Archer believes the partnership with shareholders United Airlines and Stellantis would contribute to the commercialization. Lilium, a German flying-taxi startup, is reportedly in the discussion for SPAC merger aftering a disappointing fundraising haul last year. Lilium aims to begin flight testing of the new aircraft in 2022 and to win safety certification by 2023. SPAC helps to promote brands and air taxis to the public besides raising capital. However, risks of the business and valuation bubble are worth our attention.


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