Air taxis a step closer to Middle East after Saudi investors back eVTOL concept

Air taxis a step closer to Middle East after Saudi investors back eVTOL concept
Published: 3 February 2020 - 5 a.m.

The Middle East is one step closer to seeing commercial air taxis whizzing around urban areas after Saudi investors announced their backing for a US company developing an eVTOL concept.

California-based start-up Joby Aviation received a significant round of funding from Jameel Investment Management Company (JIMCO), the investment arm of Abdul Latif Jameel.

Joby Aviation is developing and certifying a piloted, all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The vehicle will enable affordable air taxi services in the Middle East and globally.

An addition of $590 million capital makes Joby Aviation the most well-funded electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) start-up globally, bringing its total raised to $720 million.

JIMCO joined the round as a new investor alongside Toyota, which recently agreed to pour nearly $400 million into Joby Aviation.

Abdul Latif Jameel said it is following a strategy of “making high-stakes investments in the future of mobility”.

Hassan Jameel, deputy president of Abdul Latif Jameel, said that Abdul Latif Jameel is leveraging its regional expertise for Joby Aviation.

“Air taxi service is still in the early stages of commercialisation, but one that has the potential to completely transform the future of mobility.

“We are excited to be a part of this new chapter for the sector, bringing fast, affordable, and zero-emissions air mobility to Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region.

“Improving daily transportation in line with environmental sustainability is a mission we share with all our partners in business, and one which we are committed to delivering on.”

Paul Sciarra, executive chairman of Joby Aviation, said: “We are very pleased to have Abdul Latif Jameel as new backers in our recent Series C financing round. We respect their track-record of significant investment in the future of electric mobility.”

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