Flying car company Joby worth $6.6bn in latest 'blank cheque' float

Alan Tovey
·2 min read
Joby's 'flying car' will transport four people at speeds of up to 200mph
Joby's 'flying car' will transport four people at speeds of up to 200mph

A flying car maker is going public with a $6.6bn valuation in a deal with a company created by the founders of LinkedIn and Zynga.

California-based Joby Aviation is a leader in the fast-growing world of electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) aircraft that could transform air transport.

Joby is combining with Reinvent Technology Partners, a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) created by entrepreneurs Reid Hoffman, who created LinkedIn, and Mark Pincus of videogame company Zynga fame.

Space are “blank cheque” companies that raise funds by listing on stock markets despite lacking commercial operations, with the proceeds used to acquire promising businesses and quickly get them on the market.

EVTOL is regarded as the next breakthrough in aviation, with potentially autonomously piloted small aircraft using ride-hailing and sharing technology to transport people at speeds of up to 200mph over distances of up to 150 miles.

Air taxis | Models in development
Air taxis | Models in development

Paul Sciarra, executive chairman, said: “By rethinking how air travel is delivered, we can open up new ways of moving around congested cities and under-served rural communities. Aerial ride-sharing will drive a generational shift in how we travel.”

Joby is one of the most advanced companies in a sector that has attracted interest from heavyweights such as Airbus and Boeing.

Over the past decade, Joby has completed 1,000 test flights for its aircraft, which will have a pilot and carry four passengers.

The company says its emissions-free aircraft will “unlock the possibility to leapfrog sustainably over the gridlock”.

The deal will provide Joby with $1.6bn and includes a $910m fundraising supported by investors including Uber, BlackRock, Fidelity and Baillie Gifford.

The proceeds are expected to get Joby to commercial operations, including getting its aircraft certified by safety regulators and setting up factories to build them.

Last year Joby secured support from car maker Toyota, which is trying to transform itself into a “mobility business”, with the Japanese giant pumping in two thirds of a £450m fundraising.